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SPARTACJ5T 

English  Edition 

Autumn  1972  to  Autumn  1980 
(Issues  Nos.  21  to  30) 


Published  by:  Spartacist  Publishing  Co. 
Box  1 377  GPO,  New  York,  NY  1 01 1 6 


e^GCC/IB^^  1087-M 


Digitized 

by  tine  Internel 

t  Arcliive 

in  2013 

http://archive.org/details/spartacist04unse 


The  Road  from  the  SWP  to  Trotskyism  .  .  .  page  2 
The  Faces  of  Economism  .  .  .  page  24 


SPARTAOST 


NUMBER  21 


FALL  1972 


25  CENTS 


The  SWP  and  the  Fourth  International,  1946-54: 

Genesis  of  Pabloism 


The  American  Socialist  Workers  Party  and  the  European 
Pabloists  travelled  at  different  rates  along  different  paths  to 
revisionism,  to  converge  in  uneasy  alliance  in  the  early  1960's 
in  an  unprincipled  "reunification,"  which  has  now  broken 
down  as  the  American  SWP  has  completed  the  transition 
from  Pabloist  centrism  to  outright  reformism.  The  "United 
Secretariat"  which  issued  out  of  the  1963  "reunification" 
teeters  on  the  edge  of  an  open  split;  the  "anti-revisionist" 
"International  Committee"  fractured  last  year.  The  collapse 
of  the  various  competing  pretenders  to  the  mantle  of  the 
Fourth  International  provides  a  crucial  opportunity  for  the 
reemergence  of  an  authentic  Trotskyist  international  tenden- 
cy. Key  to  the  task  of  reconstructing  the  Fourth  Internation- 
al through  a  process  of  splits  and  fusions  is  an  understanding 
of  the  characteristics  and  causes  of  Pabloist  revisionism  and 
the  flawed  response  of  the  anti-Pabloists  who  fought,  too 
little  and  too  late,  on  national  terrain  while  in  practice 
abandoning  the  world  movement. 

World  War  II:  U.S.  and  France 

Before  the  onset  of  the  war,  Trotsky  and  the  Fourth 
International  had  believed  that  decaying  capitalism  and  the 
rise  of  fascism  removed  the  possibility  for  reformism  and 
therefore  for  bourgeois-democratic  illusions  among  the 
masses.  Yet'  they  could  not  but  become  fncreasingly  aware 
that  the  revulsion  of  the  working  class  against  fascism  and 
the  threat  of  fascist  occupation  gave  rise  to  social  chauvinism 
and  a  renewal  of  confidence  in  the  "democratic"  bourgeoisie 
permeating  the  proletarian  masses  throughout  Europe  and  the 
U.S.  Faced  with  such  a  contradiction,  the  powerful  pressures 
of  nationalist  backwardness  and  democratic  illusions  in  the 
working  class  tended  to  pull  the  sections  of  the  Fourth 
International  apart,  some  adopting  a  sectarian  stance,  others 
capitulating  to  the  social  patriotism  which  was  rampant 
among  the  masses.  The  SWP  briefly  adopted  the  "Proletarian 


Military  Policy"  which  called  for  military  training  under - 
trade  union  control,  implicitly  posing  the  Utopian  idea  that 
U.S.  workers  could  fight  German  fascism  without  the 
existence  of  a  workers  state  in  the  U.S.,  through  "control- 
ling" U.S.  imperialism's  army.  British  Trotskyist  Ted  Grant 
went  even  further,  in  one  speech  referring  to  British 
imperialism's  armed  forces  as  "our  Eighth  Army."  The 
German  IKD  returned  to  outright  Menshevism  with  the 
theory  that  fascism  had  brought  about  the  need  for  "an 
intermediate  stage  fundamentally  equivalent  to  a  democratic 
revolution."  ("Three  Theses,"  19  October  1941) 

The  French  Trotskyist  movement,  fragmented  during  the 
course  of  the  war,  was  the  best  example  of  the  contradiction. 
One  of  its  fragments  subordinated  the  mobilization  of  the 
working  class  to  the  political  appetites  of  the  GauUist  wing  of 
the  imperialist  bourgeoisie;  another  grouping  renounced  any 
struggle  within  the  resistance  movement  in  favor  of  work 
exclusively  at  the  point  of  production  and,  not  recognizing 
the  existing  level-  of  reformist  consciousness  among  the 
workers,  adventurously  attempted  to  seize  the  factories 
during  the  "liberation"  of  Paris  while  the  working  masses 
were  out  on  the  streets.  The  February  1944  European 
Conference  document  which  was  the  basis  for  a  fusion 
between  two  French  groupings  to  form  the  Parti  Com- 
muniste  Internationaliste  characterized  the  two  groups: 

"Instead  of  distinguishing  between  the  nationalism  of  the 
defeated  bourgeoisie  which  remains  an  expression  of  its 
imperialist  preoccupations,  and  the  'nationalism'  of  the 
masses  which  is  only  a  reactionary  expression  of  their 
resistance  against  exploitation  by  the  occupying  imperial- 
ism, the  leadership  of  the  POI  considered  as  progressive 
the  struggle  of  its  own  bourgeoisie  .  .  .  ." 

"the  CCI  .  .  .  under  the  pretext  of  guarding  intact  the 
heritage   of  Marxism-Leninism,  refused  obstinately  to 

(Continued  on  page  4) 


The  Case  of  Bala  Tampoe 

Suppressed  Documents  Expose  United  Secretariat 


PAGE  14 


2 


SPARTACIST 


The  Road  from  the  SWP 
to  Trotskyism 


Resignations  from 
the  SWP-YSA 


The  statement  of  resignation  from  the  Socialist  Workers 
Party  in  favor  of  a  fusion  perspective  with  the  Spartacist 
League,  printed  immediately  below,  is  from  comrades  who 
have  made  the  difficult  transition  from  the  reformism  of  the 
SWP  to  Trotskyism.  They  originated  out  of  the  complex  pro- 
cess around  the  last  SWP  Convention  (August  1971).  Two 
left  oppositions  emerged  in  that  Convention  period:  the 
Communist  Tendency  in  Boston,  a  handful  associated  with 
one  David  Fender,  and  the  much  looser  Proletarian  Orienta- 
tion tendency  which  amassed  perhaps  a  hundred  supporters 
byConventiorttime.The  CT  took  a  more  left-wing  and  multi- 
faceted  stance;  the  PO  as  its  name  implies  centered  upon  in- 
volving the  SWP  in  the  working-class  movement.  After  the 
Convention  the  PO  formally  dissolved  and  in  fact  began  dis- 
integrating even  before  the  post-Convention  period.  Of  the 
older  more  prominent  individuals  drawn  to  or  associated 
with  the  PO  (Larry  Turner,  Hedda  Garza,  Harry  DeBoer,  Paul 
Boutelle),  most  simply  capitulated  to  the  party  majority.  The 
surviving  right  PO  elements  headed  by  Ralph  Lewis  seem  to 
place  their  future  hopes  on  the  centrist  European  United  Sec- 
retariat in  the  latter's  incipient  rupture  with  the  reformist 
American  SWP.  The  more  radical  left  PO  elements  around 
Barbara  Gregorich  formally  constituted  a  "Leninist  Faction" 
within  the  SWP. 

Meanwhile  Fender  and  the  CT  early  got  themselves 
thrown  out  of  the  SWP,  then  spHt  from  each  other.  The  CT, 
after  a  weeks-long  attempt  to  conquer  the  American  prole- 
tariat,  independently  as  the  "Committee  for  a  Workers  Gov- 
ernment," liquidated  into  the  third-camp  International  So- 
cialists, though  not  without  swearing  to  all  and  sundry  that 
they  have  not  sold  out  but  are  rather  on  a  vicious  wrecking 
Trotskyite  entry.  Fender  has  signed  on  as  co-editor  of  Harry 
Turner's  "Vanguard  Newsletter"  to  produce  one  of  the  more 
rotten  little  blocs  of  all  time.  The  VNL  is  not  only  non- 
democratic-centralist  itself  ')ut  projects  and  seeks  to  work 
through  its  "Committees  for  Rank  and  File  Caucuses,"  a  hy- 
pothetical united  front  in  willful  substitution  for  the  aim  of 
a  Leninist  party.  The  record  of  the  combined  VNL-CRFC 
crew  to  date,  to  take  the  China  question  for  example,  is  the 
"unity"  of  the  pro-Maoist  Turner  and  the  pro-Liu  Shao-chiist 
Fender,  along  with  the  sometime  inclusion  of  the  self-styled 
left  pro-Lin  Piaoist  Bob  Ross.  In  addition  the  CRFC  swamp 
encompasses  "Socialist  Forum,"  some  semi-ex-DeLeonist 


14  August  1972 

Political  Committee,  Socialist  Workers  Party 
National  Executive  Committee, 
Young  Socialist  Alliance 

We,  the  undersigned,  hereby  rdsign  from  the  SWP 
and  the  YSA.  We  take  this  step  as  the  culmination  of 
our  previously  declared  support  within  the  SWP  to  the 
Declaration  of  the  Leninist  Faction  of  15  May  1972 
or,  in  the  case  of  the  YSA  member,  of  our  present 
solidarity  with  the  politics  of  that  Declaration 

In  accordance  with  the  programmatic  parallelism 
of  our  political  position  with  that  of  the  Spartacist 
League  of  the  U.S.,  and  as  principled  and  serious 
revolutionists,  we  intend  to  seek  fusion  with  the  SL. 
We  call  upon  all  others  in  basic  agreement  with  our 
views  to  adopt  the  same  perspective. 

Fraternally, 

Paul  A.,  SWP  (  Washington  D.  C. ); 
JeffB.,  SWP(0akland-Berkeley1 
Dave  P.,SWP(  Washington,  D. C ) 
Martha  P.,  SWP  (  Washington,  D. C. ) 
Ron  P,  YSA  (New  York  City) 


elements  who  presumably  think  all  the  Chinese  are  simply 
Stalinist  totalitarians  but  that  probably  it  is  not  very  im- 
portant since  it  is  not  an  American  question.  Just  before 
picking  up  Fender  who  is  some  kind  of  extreme  "socialist" 
militarist  i.e.  an  enthusiast  of  his  own  version  of  an  ultra 
Proletarian  Military  Policy,  Turner  had  fortuitously  broken, 
over  questions  of  international  maneuvering,  with  a  "social- 
ist" draft  dodger.  Bob  Sherwood,  resident  in  Canada.  But 
Turner-Fender  do  have  a  principled  basis  of  a  sort  for  their 
amalgam:  Turner's  VNL  had  gone  along  with  support  to  the 
New  York  cops'  strike  (Turner  was  chasing  the  strongly  pro- 
cop  Workers  League  at  the  time)  while  most  recently  Fender 
as  a  VNL  representative  precipitated  the  forcible  opening  by 
campus  cops  of  a  WL  "public"  meeting  in  St.  Louis  where,  as 
usual,  the  WL  was  forcibly  excluding  known  radical  op- 
ponents. 

The  record  of  the  attempt  of  elements  standing  between 
the  reformism  of  the  "Trotskyist"  SWP  and  the  revolutionary 
Marxism  of  the  Trotskyist  Spartacist  League  to  transcend 
their  centrist  limitations  ranges  in  the  main  from  the  pathetic 
to  the  sordid. 

The  most  characteristic  nostrum  seen  as  an  antidote  to 
the  SWP's  revisionism  is  a  particularly  trivial  species  of  work- 
erism.  Real  revolutionary  syndicahsts,  while  they  believe  in 


FALL  1972 


3 


SPARTAC)5T 

(Fourth  Internationalist) 
An  Organ  of  Revolutionary  Marxism 

EDITORS:  Managing,  Elizabeth  Gordon;  James  Robertson; 
Joseph  Sevmour. 

BUSINESS  MANAGER:  Anne  Keiley. 

Main  address:  Box  1377,  G.P.O.,  New  York,  N.Y.  10001.  Tele- 
phone: WA  5-2426.  Western  address:  P.O.  Box  852,  Berkeley, 
Calif.  94701.  Telephone:  848-3029.  Southern  address:  Box 
51 634,  Main  P.O.,  New  Orleans,  La.  701 51 .  Telephone:  866-8384. 
New  England  address:  Box  188,  M.l.T.  Sta.,  Cambridge,  Mass. 
02139.  Telephone:  876-1787.  Midwestern  address:  Box  6471, 
Main  P.O.,  Chicago,  III.  60680.  Telephone:  548-2934. 

Published  by  the  Central  Committee  of  the  Spartacist  League. 
Opinions  expressed  in  signed  articles  do  not  necessarily  represent 
an  editorial  viewpoint. 


Number  21  ^liSS^  x  523  Fall  1972 


concentrating  all  their  effort  and  attention  upon  the  class 
struggle  at  the  point  of  production  hence  denying  and  liqui- 
dating crucial  aspects  of  Leninism  in  the  struggle  to  conquer 
power,  at  least  focus  on  the  class  struggle.  But  much  of  the 
thrust  of  the  oppositions  born  in  the  SWP  is  instead  a 
yearning  to  be  "at  one"  with  the  proletariat,  a  sentimental 
petty-bourgeois  moralist  felt  belief  that  the  be-all  and  end-all 
of  the  work  of  real  revolutionists  is  simply  to  be  immersed, 
hopefully  continuously,  in  the  real  proletarian  milieu—very 
different  from  the  Leninist  implantation  of  hard  communist 
fractions  at  calculated  spots  within  the  labor  movement. 

The  SWP  oppositionists'  disorientation  reflects  two  inter- 
connected deep-seated  obstacles  to  achieving  a  bona  fide  rev- 
■olutionary  outlook.  The  first  is  that  the  SWP  is  very  far  from 
revolutionary  politics,  and  in  very  many  ways-hence  the 
road  from  it  to  Trotskyism  is  long  and  tortuous.  The  second 
is  that  the  American  working  class  in  recent  decades  has 
given  little  concrete  empirical  example  of  its  real  capacities  in 
class  struggle  to  the  isolated  panacea-  and  revisionism-prone 
radical  movement.  Hence  it  is  difficult  for  even  those  with  a 
subjective  will  to  assimilate  the  historical  and  international 
experiences  of  Bolshevism  and  Trotskyism.  But  if  experience 
in  revolutionary  politics  is  not  easy  to  acquire  in  contempora- 
ry America,  the  catastrophes  of  petty  centrist  opportunism 
can  and  do  teach  a  minority  of  revolutionary  aspirants  the 
lessons  through  hard  knocks.  The  comrades  now  resigning 
from  the  SWP  are  by  no  means  the  last  to  come  to  Bolshev- 
ism from  the  still  continuing  interactions  of  the  floundering 
SWP  oppositional  elements  as  they  are  driven  to  confront 
real  programmatic  alternatives. 

Declaration  of 
Leninist  Faction 

1.  As  Trotskyists  we  are  first  and  foremost  proletarian 
internationalists.  Today,  though,  we  see  not  one  single, 


homogeneous  Fourth  International  (World  Party  of  Socialist 
Revolution),  but  five  separate  international  groups  all 
claiming  to  be  either  the  Fourth  International  itself,  or 
separate  "factions"  of  it.  The  shattering  of  the  Fourth  Inter- 
national originally  constructed  by  Trotsky,  Cannon,  Sedov, 
Klement,  and  others  had  its  basis  in  the  isolation  from  the 
working  masses  after  World  War  II,  and  the  methodology  and 
positions  adopted  at  the  Third  World  Congress  in  195 1 . 

At  the  Third  World  Congress,  adaptation  to  non-revolu- 
tionary currents  took  place,  which  resulted  in  the  adoption 
of  positions  which  negated  the  need  for  the  Leninist  vanguard 
party.  These  positions,  based  on  impressionism  and  empiri- 
cism, were  not  decisively  fought  at  the  time  of  the  1952-53 
split  nor  during  the  reunification  of  1963.  The  result  is  that 
they  still  exist  within  the  United  Secretariat  today. 

2.  The  majority  of  the  United  Secretariat  is  currently 
adapting  to  peasant  forces  in  Latin  America,  while  the 
Canadian  led  minority  (with  fraternal  SWP  support)  seeks  to 
adapt  to  petty  bourgeois  and  new  middle  class  sectors.  Nei- 
ther strategy  sees  the  industrial  working  class  as  the  key  to 
the  revolution.  Therefore,  in  the  current  dispute  within  the 
United  Secretariat,  we  can  support  neither  side. 

Other  international  groupings  have  fared  no  better.  About 
the  International  Secretariat  of  Posadas  with  its  call  for  a 
nuclear  first  strike  by  the  Soviet  Union,  or  the  Revolutionary 


Marxist  Tendency  of  Pablo  with  its  deep  entry  in  the  Aus- 
tralian Communist  Party,  little  need  be  said.  The  Internation- 
al Committee,  led  by  G.  Healy,  can  be  characterized  as  both 
sectarian  and  opportunist,  or  "sectarians  afraid  of  their  own 
opportunism,"  with  outright  reactionary  positions  on  such 
issues  as  women's  liberation. 

3.  Errors  similar  to  those  of  the  United  Secretariat  are 
found  within  the  current  program  of  our  party,  the  Socialist 
Workers  Party. 

(Continued  next  page) 


This  is  the  first  issue  of  Spartacist  since  the 
inauguration  of  the  new  monthly  Workers 
Vanguard  a  year  ago.  At  that  time  Workers 
Vanguard  was  described  as  part  of  the  trans- 
formation of  the  Spartacist  League  into  the 
nucleus  of  the  vanguard  party,  and  of  the 
struggle  to  reconstruct  the  Fourth  Interna- 
tional. The  role  of  Spartacist  is  to  stress 
the  polemical,  theoretical  and  internation- 
ally directed  aspects  of  these  tasks.  Hence 
the  editors  look  forward  to  Spartacist  be- 
coming the  organ  of  the  Spartacist  tendency 
internationally,  as  a  step  in  the  struggle  for 
rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International. 

—The  Editorial  Board 


4 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  SWP 

4.  The  declaration  that  the  Cuban  Revolution  had  pro- 
duced a  healthy  workers  state  without  the  intervention  of 
the  vanguard  Leninist  (i.e.  Trotskyist)  party  represented  a 
political  denial  of  the  need  for  such  a  party.  This  denial  is 
outright  political  liquidationism.  We  declare  that  the  current 
Cuban  state  is  a  deformed  workers  state  and  has  been  so 
from  the  very  instant  of  its  existence.  In  order  for  Cuba  to 
become  a  healthy  \yorkers  state,  a  political  revolution  is  re- 
quired just  as  in  the  degenerated  workers  state  of  the  Soviet 
Union  and  the  deformed  workers  states  such  as  China  and 
the  Eastern  European  states.  Such  a  political  revolution  has 
as  its  most  important  task  the  estabHshment  of  institutional- 
ized forms  of  workers  democracy  and  the  political  destruc- 
tion of  the  Stalinist  theories  of  socialism  in  one  country  and 
peaceful  coexistence. 

5.  The  party  majority  has  come  more  and  more  to  base  its 
program  on  bourgeois  ideologies  (such  as  nationalism  and 
feminism)  within  the  workers'  movement.  While  we  support 
the  liberation  of  women  and  of  the  various  national,  ethnic, 
and  racial  groups  oppressed  by  U.S.  capitalism,  we  believe 
that  such  liberation  will  only  be  achieved  by  a  successful 
proletarian  revolution  within  the  United  States.  While  the 
party's  current  feminist  politics  imply  that  women-as-women 
can  end  their  oppression,  and  its  nationalist  politics  imply 
that  nations  as  nations  can  end  national  oppression,  we  say 
that  this  is  a  poly-vanguardist  approach.  Only  the  working 
class,  organized  as  a  class  and  led  by  the  vanguard  party  can 
liberate  all  humanity.  Consequently,  our  most  important  task 
is  to  further  the  development  of  class  consciousness  which 
will  link  all  sectors  of  the  working  class  in  a  common  struggle 
against  the  oppression  that  the  various  groups  within  the 
class  currently  face.  We  do  not  simply  oppose  such  ideologies 
as  feminism  and  nationalism.  Rather,  the  nationalists  and 
feminists  are  conscious  of  their  oppression,  but  with  a  false 
consciousness  (i.e.,  an  ideology).  What  is  necessary  is  to 
utilize  the  strategy  contained  in  The  Death  Agony  of  Capi- 
talism and  the  Tasks  of  the  Fourth  International  to  destroy 
this  false  consciousness  and  replace  it  with  its  opposite  by 
raising  it  to  a  qualitatively  higher  level-from  bourgeois 
ideology  to  revolutionary  class  consciousness. 

6.  While  we  give  unconditional  support  to  the  miUtary 
battle  being  waged  by  the  Vietnamese  against  United  States 
imperialism,  a  revolutionary  defense  of  the  Vietnamese  Rev- 
olution requires  both  its  defense  against  the  StaHnist  bureauc- 
racy as  well  as  U.S.  imperialism.  Such  a  defense  requires  the 
preparation  of  the  proletariat  for  its  historic  task  of  seizing 
state  power.  The  party  approaches  the  question  of  the  war  in 
a  single-issue  pacifist  fashion.  The  party  has  not  begun  to 
build  a  mass  movement  that  can  defend  the  Vietnamese  rev- 
olution, either  from  imperiaUsm  or  its  StaHnist  misleader- 
ship.  The  majority  sees  no  need  to  defend  the  Revolution 
against  the  Stalinist  bureaucracy  currently  in  the  leadership 
of  the  struggle.  Having  seen  the  bureaucracy  sell  out  the  in- 
terests of  the  Vietnamese  workers  in  the  past,  we  will  see 
them  continue  to  do  so  in  the  future,  until  the  struggle 

(Continued  on  page  13) 


. . .  Pahloism   (Continued  from  page  1) 

distinguish  the  nationalism  of  the  bourgeoisie  from  the 
resistance  movement  of  the  masses." 


I.  SWP  ISOLATIONISM 


European  Trotskyism  and  American  Trotskyism  respond- 
ed in  initially  different  ways  to  different  tasks  and  problems 
following  World  War  II.  The  precarious  internationalism  of 
the  American  SWP,  maintained  through  intimate  collabora- 
tion with  Trotsky  during  his  exile  in  Mexico,  did  not  survive 
the  assassination  of  Trotsky  in  1940  and  the  onset  of  world 
war.  The  American  Trotskyists  retreated  into  an  isolation 
only  partially  forced  upon  them  by  the  disintegration  of  the 
European  sections  under  conditions  of  fascist  triumph  and 
illegalization. 

Anticipating  the  difficulties  of  international  coordination 
during  the  war,  a  resident  International  Executive  Committee 
had  been  set  up  in  New  York.  Its  only  notable  achievement, 
however,  appears  to  have  been  the  convening  of  an  "Emer- 
gency Conference"  of  the  International,  held  19-26  May 
1940  "somewhere  in  the  Western  Hemisphere,"  "on  the 
initiative  of  its  U.S.,  Mexican  and  Canadian  sections."  A 
rump  conference  attended  by  less  than  half  of  the  sections, 
the  "Emergency  Conference"  was  called  for  the  purpose  of 
dealing  with  the  internatiorial  ramifications  of  the  Shacht- 
man  split  in  the  U.S.  section,  which  had  resulted  in  the 
defection  of  a  majority  of  the  resident  lEC.  The  meeting 
solidarized  with  the  SWP  in  the  faction  fight  and  reaffirmed 
its  status  as  the  one  U.S.  section  of  the  Fourth  International. 
The  conference  also  adopted  a  "Manifesto  of  the  Fourth 
International  on  the  Imperialist  War  and  the  Proletarian 
World  Revolution"  written  by  Trotsky.  Following  Trotsky's 
death,  however,  the  resident  lEC  lapsed  into  oblivion. 

At  least  in  hindsight,  the  American  section  of  the  Fourth 
International  should  have  initiated  a  clandestine  secretariat  in 
a  neutral  country  in  Europe,  staffed  by  quahfied  SWPers  and 
emigres  from  other  sections,  to  centralize  and  directly 
supervise  the  work  of  Trotskyists  in  fascist-occupied  coun- 
tries. But  the  SWP  -vas  content  to  limit  its  international 
activities  during  the  war  to  the  publication  in  its  internal 
bulletins  of  letters  and  factional  documents  from  European 
Trotskyists.  The  passage  of  the  Voorhis  Act  in  1941 
inhibiting  U.S.  groups  from  affiliation  with  international 
political  organizations-a  law  which  to  this  day  has  never 
been  tested-also  gave  the  SWP  a  -rationalization  for  down- 
playing its  international  responsibilities. 

The  SWP's  work  during  the  war  did  evidence  an  interna- 
tionalist perspective.  SWP  longshoremen  used  the  opportuni- 
ty of  ships  from  Vladivostok  docking  on  the  West  Coast  to 
clandestinely  distribute  Trotsky's  "Letter  to  Russian  Work- 
ers" in  Russian  to  the  Soviet  seamen.  The  SWP  concentrated 
its  merchant  marine  comrades  on  the  supply  runs  to  Mur- 
mansk until  the  extremely  heavy  casualties  compelled  the 
party  to  discontinue  the  Murmansk  concentration.  (It  was  in 
response  to  such  activities  that  the  GPU  was  directed  to  acti- 
vate the  Soblen  anti-Trotskyist  espionage  net.  Testimony 
years  afterward  revealed  that  Cannon's  telephone  was  tapped 
by  the  GPU  and  that  the  business  manager  of  the  SWP's 
Fourth  Internationa!  magazine,  one  "Michael  Cort,"  was  one 


FALL  1972 


5 


of  the  GPU  agents.)  But  the  maintenance  and  direction  of 
the  Fourth  International  was  part  of  the  SWP's  internation- 
alist responsibiUty,  and  should  have  been  a  priority  as  urgent 
as  the  work  which  the  SWP  undertook  on  its  own. 

The  leadership  of  the  SWP  came  through  the  war  period 
essentially  intact,  but  reinforced  in  its  insularity  and  ill- 
equipped  theoretically  to  deal  with  the  post-war  situation. 

During  the  later  years  of  the  war  and  the  immediate 
post-war  period,  the  SWP  had  registered  some  impressive 
successes  in  implanting  its  cadres  in  industry  during  the 
boom  and  in  recruiting  a  new  layer  of  proletarian  militants 
drawn  to  the  Trotskyists  because  of  their  opposition  to  the 
Communist  Party's  policies  of  social  patriotism  and  class 
peace. 

Optimism  and  Orthodoxy 

The  SWP  entered  the  post-war  period  with  buoyant 
optimism  about  the  prospects  for  proletarian  revolution.  The 
1946  SWP  Convention  and  its  resolution,  "The  Coming 
American  Revolution,"  projected  the  indefinite  continuation 
of  successes  for  the  SWP.  The  isolationist  perspective  of  the 
Party  was  in  evidence  at  the  Convention.  The  necessarily 
international  character  of  crises  and  revolutions  is  recogniz- 
ed, but  not  the  concomitant  international  character  of  the 
vanguard  party.  The  resolution  in  effect  makes  excuses  for 
the  political  backwardness  of  the  U.S.  working  class  while 
praising  its  militancy  and  presents  the  following  syllogism: 
the  decisive  battles  of  the  world  revolution  will  be  fought  in 
the  advanced  countries  where  the  means  of  production  are 
highly  developed  and  the  proletariat  powerful-above  all  in 
the  U.S.;  therefore  all  that  is  necessary  is  to  build  the 
American  revolution  and  world  capitalism  will  be  over- 
thrown. Profound  impressionism  led  the  SWP  to  see  the 
world  through  the  eyes  of  American  capitalism  which  had 
emerged  from  the  war  as  the  unquestioned  pre-eminent 
capitalist  world  power. 

The  post-war  stabilization  of  European  capitalism,  the 
emergence  of  the  Stalinist  parties  as  the  dominant  reformist 
workers  parties  in  Europe,  the  expansion  of  Stalinism  in 
Eastern  Europe  (apparently  flying  in  the  face  of  the 
Trotskyist  analysis  that  Stalinism  could  only  betray),  the 
destruction  of  capitalism  by  peasant-based  nationalist- 
Stalinist  formations  in  Yugoslavia  and  China— all  these 
developments  posed  new  theoretical  problems  for  the 
-Trotskyist  movement  which  the  SWP,  stripped  of  a  layer  of 
talented  intellectuals  by  the  petty-bourgeois  Shachtman  split 
and  shortly  thereafter  deprived  of  Trotsky's  guidance,  could 
not  handle.  The  SWP's  immediate  response  was  to  retreat 
into  a  sterile  "orthodoxy"  stripped  of  real  theoretical 
content,  thus  rendering  its  isolation  more  complete. 

The  1950's  brought  a  new  wave  of  spontaneous  working- 
class  struggles  in  West  and  East  Europe,  but  to  the  SWP  they 
brought  the  onset  of  the  Cold  War  witchhunt:  the  Smith  Act 
prosecutions  of  CPers  and  former  CPers;  the  deadening  of 
every  aspect  of  social  and  intellectual  life;  the  relentless 
purge  of  known  "reds"  and  militants  from  the  union 
movement,  severing  the  SWP's  connection  with  the  working- 
class  movement  which  had  taken  years  to  build  up;  the 
dropping  away  of  the  whole  layer  of  workers  recruited  to  the 
SWP  during  the  late  1940's.  The  objective  pressure  to 
become  a  mere  cheering  sectibn  for  European  and  colonial 


developments  was  strong  but  the  SWP  hung  on  to  its  verbal 
orthodox  commitment  to  making  the  American  revolution. 


II.  THE  BREAK  IN  CONTINUITY  IN  EUROPE 


The  vulnerability  of  the  European  Trotskyist  movement 
to  revisionism  hinged  on  the  historic  weaknesses  of  the 
European  organizations  combined  with  the  thorough  shatter- 
ing of  their  continuity  to  the  earlier  period.  When  Trotsky  in 
1934  launched  the  struggle  to  found  the  Fourth  Internation- 
al, the  European  working  class,  confronted  with  the  decisive 
choice  of  socialism  or  barbarism,  lacked  a  communist 
leadership.  The  task  facing  the  Fourth  Internationalists  was 
clear:  to  mobilize  the  class  against  the  threat  of  fascism  and 


"By  its  very  nature  opportunism  is  nationaristic,  since  it  rests 
on  the  local  and  temporary  needs  of  the  proletariat  and  not 
on  its  historic  tasks.  Opportunists  find  international  control 
intolerable  and  they  reduce  their  international  ties  as  much 
as  possible  to  harmless  formalities  ...  on  the  proviso  that 
each  group  does  not  hinder  the  others  from  conducting  an 
opportunist  policy  to  its  own  national  task.  .  .  .  International 
unity  is  not  a  decorative  facade  for  us,  but  the  very  axis  of 
our  theoretical  views  and  our  policy.  Meanwhile  there  are  not 
a  few  ultra-Lefts  .  .  .  [who]  carry  on  a  semi-conscious  strug- 
gle to  split  up  the  Communist  Opposition  into  independent 
national  groups  and  to  free  them  from  international 
control." 

(Leon  Trotsky,  "The  Defense  ot  the  Soviet  Union  and 
the  Opposition,"  7  September  1929) 

"We  stand  not  for  democracy  in  general  but  for  centralist 
democracy.  It  is  precisely  for  this  reason  that  we  place 
national  leadership  above  local  leadership  and  international 
leadership  above  national  leadership." 

(Leon  Trotsky,  "An  Open  Letter  to  All  Members  of 
the  Leninbund,"  6  February  1930) 


war,  to  amass  the  cadres  for  the  world  revolutionary  party 
which  would  stand  for  proletarian  internationahsm  in  the 
face  of  the  march  toward  imperialist  war  and  the  social 
chauvinist  capitulation  of  the  Second  and  Third  Internation- 
als. But  Trotsky  had  noted  the  immense  difficulty  for  the 
conscious  vanguard  to  go  forward  in  a  period  of  crushing 
defeat  for  the  class  and  the  "terrible  disproportion  between 
the  tasks  and  the  means."  ("Fighting  Against  the  Stream," 
April  1939)  The  weakness  of  the  European  movement  was 
exemplified  by  the  French  section,  which  was  repeatedly 
criticized  by  Trotsky  and  whose  petty-bourgeois  "workerist" 
deviation  and  dilettantism  were  the  subject  of  a  special 
resolution  at  the  founding  conference  of  the  Fourth  Interna- 
tional in  1938. 

The  Fourth  International  geared  itself  up  for  the  decisive 
struggle  against  fascism  and  war^and  lost.  During  the  course 
of  the  war  and  the  Nazi  occupations  the  very  rudiments  of 
international,  and  even  national,  coordination  were  destroy- 
ed: The  International  disintegrated  into  small  groups  of 
miUtants  pursuing  improvised  policies:  some  opportunist, 
some  heroic.  The  65  French  and  German  comrades  who  were 

(Continued^ext  page) 


6 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Pabloism 

shot  by  the  Gestapo  in  July  1 943  because  of  their  revolution- 
ary defeatist  fraternization  and  the  building  of  a  Trotskyist 
cell  in  the  German  armed  forces  are  a  monument  to  the 
internationalist  courage  of  a  weak  revolutionary  movement 
fighting  against  insurmountable  odds. 

Trotskyist  Cadres  Decimated 

In  August  1943  an  attempt  was  made  to  reestablish  the 
rudiments  of  organization  in  Europe.  The  European  Secre- 
tariat set  up  at  this  meeting  in  Belgium  included  exactly  one 
surviving  member  of  the  pre-war  leadership  and  largely  as  a 
result  of  the  nonexistence  of  tested  cadres,  Michel  Pablo 
(Raptis),  a  skilled  clandestine  organizer  not  known  for  ability 
as  a  political  leader  or  theoretician,  emerged  as  the  head  of 
the  International.  When  in  June  1945  a  European  Executive 
Committee  met  to  prepare  for  the  holding  of  a  World 
Congress,  the  experienced  leading  cadres  and  the  most 
promising  of  the  young  Trotskyists  (A.  Leon,  L.  Lesoil,  W. 
Held)  had  been  killed  at  the  hands  of  the  Nazis  or  the  GPU. 
The  continuity  of  Trotskyism  in  Europe  had  been  broken. 
This  tragic  process  was  duplicated  elsewhere  with  the 
imprisonment  and  eventual  execution  of  Ta  Thu-tau  and  the 
Vietnamese  Trotskyists,  the  virtual  extinction  of  the  Chinese 
Trotskyists  and  the  liquidation  of  the  remaining  Russian 
Trotskyists  (including,  besides  Trotsky,  Ignace  Reiss,  Rudolf 
Klement  and  Leon  Sedov).  The  Europeans  were  apparently 
so  starved  for  experienced  leading  cadres  that  Pierre  Frank 
(leading  member  of  the  Molinier  group  which  Trotsky 
denounced  as  "demoralized  centrists"  in  1935  and  expelled 
in  1938  for  refusing  to  break  with  the  French  social- 
democracy  after  the  "French  Turn")  was  enabled  to  become 
a  leader  of  the  post-war  French  section. 

At  this  crucial  juncture  the  intervention  and  leadership  of 
a  truly  internationalist  American  Trotskyist  party  might  have 
made  a  great  difference.  But  the  SWP,  which  should  have 
assumed  leadership  in  the  International  throughout  the  war 
years,  was  sunk  in  its  own  national  preoccupations.  Cannon 
noted  later  that  the  SWP  leadership  had  deliberately  built  up 
Pablo's  authority,  even  going  "so  f^r  as  to  soft-pedal  a  lot  of 
our  differences"  (June  1953).  The  urgent  responsibility  oif 
the  SWP,  which  whatever  its  deficiencies  was  the  strongest 
and  most  experienced  Trotskyist  organization,  was  precisely 
the  opposite. 


III.  ORTHODOXY  REASSERTED 


The  immediate  task  facing  the  Trotskyists  after  the  war 
was  to  reorient  its  cadres  and  reassess -the  situation  of  the 
vanguard  and  the  class  in  light  of  previous  projections.  The 
Trotskyists'  expectations  of  tottering  West  European  capital- 
ist regimes  and  the  renewal  of  violent  class  struggle  through- 
out Europe,  and  especially  in  Germany  where  the  collapse  of 
Nazi  state  power  left  a  vacuum,  had  been  confirmed. 
However  the  reformists,  particularly  the  Stalinist  parties, 
reasserted  themselves  to  contain  the  spontaneous  working- 
class  upsurges.  Control  of  the  French  working  class  through 
the  CGT  passed  from  the  social  democracy  (SFIO)  which  had 
controlled  the  CGT  before  the  war  to  the  French  Stalinists. 
Thus  despite  the  manifest  revolutionary  spirit  of  the 
European-  working  class  and  the  great  waves  of  general 


strikes,  especially  in  France,  Belgium,  Greece  and  Italy, 
throughout  West  Europe,  the  proletariat  did  not  take  power 
and  the  Stalinist  apparatus  emerged  with  new  strength  and 
sohdity. 

The  Fourth  International  responded  by  falling  back  on 
sterile  orthodoxy  and  stubborn  refusal  to  believe  that  these 
struggles  had  been  defeated  for  the  immediate  period: 

"Under  these  conditions  partial  defeats  .  .  .  temporary 
periods  of  retreat  ...  do  not  demoralize  the  prole- 
tariat ....  The  repeated  demonstration  by  the  bourgeoisie 
of  its  inability  to  restabilize  - an  economy  and  political 
regime  of  the  slightest  stabihty  offers  the  workers  new 
opportunities  to  go  over  to  even  higher  stages  of  struggle. 

"The  sweUing  of  the  ranks  of  the  traditional  organizations 
in  Europe,  above  all  the  Stalinist  parties  .  .  .  has  reached 
its  peak  almost  everywhere.  The  phase  of  decline  is 
beginning." 

(European  Executive  Committee,  April  1946) 
Right-opportunist  critics  in  the  Trotskyist  movement  (the 
German  IKD,  the  SWP's  Goldman-Morrow  faction)  were 
correct  in  noting  the  over-optimism  of  such  an  analysis  and 
in  pointing  out  that  the  traditional  reformist  leaderships  of 
the  working  class  are  always  the  first  inheritors  of  a  renewal 
of  militancy  and  struggle.  Their  "solution,"  however,  was  to 
argue  for  a  limitation  of  the  Trotskyist  program  to  bour- 
geois-democratic demands,  and  such  measures  as  critical 
support  to  the  post-war  French  bourgeois  Constitution.  Their 
advocacy  of  an  entrist  policy  toward  the  European  reformist 
parties  was  dismissed  out  of  hand  by  the  majority,  which 
expected  the  workers  to  more  or  less  spontaneously  regroup 
under  the  Trotskyist  banner.  This  attitude  prepared  the  way 
for  a  sharp  reversal  on  the  entrism  question  when  the  implicit 
position  of  ignoring  the  reformists'  influence  could  no  longer 
be  maintained. 

The  Fourth  International's  immediate  post-war  perspec- 
tive was  summed  up  by  Ernest  Germain  (Mandel)  in  an 
article  called  "The  First  Phase  of  the  European  Revolution" 
(Fourth  International,  August  1946).  The  title  already 
implies  the  outlook:  "the  revolution"  was  implicitly  redefin- 
ed as  a  metaphysical  process  enduring  continuously  and 
progressing  inevitably  toward  victory,  rather  than  a  sharp  and 
necessarily  time-limited  confrontation  over  the  question  of 
state  power,  the  outcome  of  which  will  shape  the  entire 
subsequent  period. 

Stalinophobia 

The  later,  Pabloist,  capitulation  to  Stalinism  was  prepared 
by  impressionistic  overstatement  of  its  opposite:  Stalino- 
phobia. In  November  1947  Pablo's  International  Secretariat 
wrote  that  the  Soviet  Union  had  become: 

"a  workers  state  degenerated  to  the  point  where  all 
progressive  manifestations  of  the  remains  of  the  October 
conquest  are  more  and  more  neutralized  by  the  disastrous 
effects  of  the  Stahnist  dictatorship." 

"What  remains  of  the  conquests  of  October  is  more  and 
more  losing  its  Historic  value  as  a  premise  for  socialist 
development." 

".  .  .  from  the  Russian  occupation  forces  or  from  pro- 
Stalinist  governments,  which  are  completely  reactionary, 
we  do  not  demand  the  expropriation  of  the 
bourgeoisie  .  .  .  ." 

Within  the  SWP,  the  rumor  circulated  that  Cannon  was 
flirting  with  the  characterization  that  the  Soviet  Union  had 
become  a  totally  degenerated  workers  state,  i.e.,  a  "state 


FALL  1972 


7 


capitalist"  regime-a  position  which  NataUa  Trotsky  shortly 
embraced. 

On  the  question  of  the  Stalinist  expansion  into  East 
Europe,  the  Fourth  International  was  united  in  simple- 
minded  orthodoxy.  An  extensive  discussion  of  "The  Kremlin 
in  Eastern  Europe"  (Fourth  International,  November  1946) 
by  E.  R.  Frank  (Bert  Cochran)  was  shrill  in  anti-Stalinist  tone 
and  tended  toward  the  view  that  the  countries  occupied  by 
the  Red  Army  would  be  deliberately  maintained  as  capitalist 
states.  A  polemic  against  Shachtman  by  Germain  dated  15 
November  1946  was  still  more  categorical:  the  theory  of  "a 
degenerated  workers  state  being  installed  in  a  country  where 
there  has  not  yet  previously  been  a  proletarian  revolution" Is 
dismissed,  simply,  as  "absurd."  And  Germain  rhetorically 
queries,  "Does  [Shachtman]  really  think  that  the  Stalinist 
bureaucracy  has  succeeded  in  overthrowing  capitalism  in  half 
of  our  continent?"  (Fourth  International,  February  1947) 

The  methodology  here  is  the  same  as  that  pursued,  more 
cynically,  by  the  "International  Committee"  in  later  years 
over  the  question  of  Cuba  (perplexed?  then  deny  reality!) 
with  the  difference  that  the  class  character  of  East  Europe, 
with  capitalist  economic  institutions  but  the  state  power  held 
by  the  occupying  army  of  a  degenerated  workers  state,  was 
far  more  difficult  to  understand.  Empiricists  and  renegades, 
of  course,  had  no  difficulty  in  characterizing  the  East 
European  states: 

"Everyone  knows  that'  in  the  countries  where  the  Stalin- 
ists have  taken  power  they  have  proceeded,  at  one  or 
another  rate  of  speed,  to  establish  exactly  the  same 
economic,  political,  social  regime  as  exists  in  Russia. 
Everyone  knows  that  the  bourgeoisie  has  been  or  is 
rapidly  being  expropriated,  deprived  of  all  its  economic 
power,  and  in  many  cases  deprived  of  mortal  exis- 
tence ....  Everyone  knows  that  what  remnants  of 
capitalism  remain  in  those  countries  will  not  even  be 
remnants  tomorrow,  that  the  whole  tendency  is  to 
establish  a  social  system  identical  with  that  of  StaUnist 
Russia." 

(Max  Shachtman,  "The  Congress  of  the  Fourth 
International,"  October  1948  New  International) 

Excruciating  as  this  ridicule  must  have  been  for  them, 
however,  the  orthodox  Trotskyists  were  trapped  in  their 
analysis  because  they  could  not  construct  a  theory  to  explain 
the  East  Europe  transformation  without  embracing  non- 
revolutionary  conclusions. 

Germain,  as  was  typical  for  him  in  those  years,  at  least 
posed  the  theoretical  dilemma  clearly:  is  the  Trotskyist 
understanding  of  Stalinism  correct  if  Stalinism  shows  itself 
willing  in  some  cases  to  accomplish  any  sort  of  anti-capitalist 
social  transformation?  Clinging  to  orthodoxy,  the  Trotskyists 
had  lost  a  real  grasp  of  theory  and  suppressed  part  of 
Trotsky's  dialectical  understanding  of  Stalinism  as  a  parasitic 
and  counter-revolutionary  caste  sitting  atop  the  gains  of  the 
October  Revolution,  a  kind  of  treacherous  middle-man 
poised  between  the  victorious  Russian  proletariat  and  world 
imperialishi.  Having  thus  reduced  dialectical  materialism  to 
static  dogma,  their  disorientation  was  complete  when  it 
became  necessary  to  answer  Germain's  question  in  the 
affirmative,  and  the  way  was  prepared  for  Pabloist  revision- 
ism to  leap  into  the  theoretical  void. 

Fourth  International  Flirts  with  Tito 

Virtually  without  exception  the  Fourth  International  was 
disoriented  by  the  Yugoslav  revolution.  After  some  twenty 


years  of  Stalinist  monolithism,  the  Trotskyists  were  perhaps 
ill-disposed  to  scrutinize  the  anti-Stalin  Yugoslav  CP  too 
carefully.  The  Yugoslav  Titoists  were  described  as  "com- 
rades" and  "left  centrists,"  and  Yugoslavia  as  "a  workers 
state  established  by  a  proletarian  revolution."  In  one  of 
several  "Open  Letters"  to  Tito,  the  SWF  wrote:  "The 
confidence  of  the  masses  in  it  ["your  party"]  will  grow 
enormously  and  it  will  become  the  effective  collective 
expression  of  the  interests  and  desires  of  the  proletariat  of  its 
country."  The  Yugoslav  revolution  posed  a  new  problem 
(later  recapitulated  by  the  Chinese,  Cuban  and  Vietnamese 
experiences):  unlike  East  Europe,  where  the  social  trans- 
formations were  accomplished  by  the  army  of  a  foreign 
degenerated  workers  state,  the  Yugoslav  revolution  was 
clearly  an  indigenous  social  revolution  which,  without  the 
intervention  of  the  working  class  or  the  direction  of  a 
Trotskyist  party,  succeeded  in  establishing  a  (deformed) 
workers  state.  The  Fourth  International  avoided  the  theoreti- 
cal problem  by  dubbing  the  revolution  "proletarian"  and  the 
Titoists  "left  centrists."  (The  SWF  avoided  the  question  of 
China  by  refusing  to  unambiguously  characterize  the  Maoist 
regime  as  a  deformed  workers  state  until  1955.  As  late  as 
1954  two  articles  by  the  Phillips  tendency,  characterizing 
China  as  state  capitalist,  were  published  in  the  SWP's  Fourth 
International.) 

Again  orthodoxy  is  maintained  but  robbed  of  its  content. 
The  impulse,  resisted  until  Pablo  was  to  give  it  consistent 
expression,  was  that  the  ability  of  non-proletarian,  non- 
Trotskyist  forces  to  accomplish  any  form  of  social  overturn 
robbed  the  Fourth  International  of  its  reason  for  existence. 
The  crucial  qualitative  distinction  between  a  workers  state 
and  a  deformed  workers  state— demarcated  in  blood  in  the 
need  for  political  revolution  to  open  the  road  to  sociaHst 
development  and  the  extension  of  the  revolution  abroad- 
had  been  lost. 


IV  PABLOISM  CONQUERS 


The  numerically  weak,  socially  isolated,  theoretically 
unarmed  and  inexperienced  cadres  of  the  post-war  Fourth 
International  were  easy  prey  for  disorientation  and  impa- 
tience in  a  situation  of  repeated  pre-revolutionary  upsurges 
whose  course  they  could  not  influence.  Beginning  in  early 
1951  a  new  revisionism,  Pabloism,  began  to  assert  itself, 
responding  to  the  frustrating  objective  situation  by  posing  an 
ersatz  way  out  of  the  isolation  of  the  Fourth  International 
from  the  main  motion  of  the  working  class.  Pabloism  was  the 
generalization  of  this  impulse  in  a  revisionist  body  of  theory 
offering  impressionistic  answers  which  were  more  consistent 
than  the  one-sided  orthodoxy  of  the  early  post-war  Fourth 
International. 

It  is  crucial  that  the  organizational  weakness,  lack  of  deep 
roots  in  the  proletariat  and  theoretical  incapacity  and 
disorientation  which  were  the  precondition  for  the  revisionist 
degeneration  of  the  Fourth  International  not  be  simply 
equated  with  the  consolidation  and  victory  of  that  revision- 
ism. Despite  grave  political  errors,  the  Fourth*  International 
in  the  immediate  post-war  period  was  still  revolutionary.  The 
SWP  and  the  International  clung  to  sterile  orthodoxy  as  a 
talisman  to  ward  off  non-revolutionary  conclusions  from 

(Continued  next  j^age) 


8 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Pabloism 

world  events  which  they  could  no  longer  comprehend. 
History  had  demonstrated  that  at  crucial  junctures  revolu- 
tionary Marxists  have  been  able  to  transcend  an  inadequate 
theory:  Lenin  before  April  1917  was  theoretically  unequip- 
ped to  project  a  proletarian  revolution  in  a  backward  country 
like  Russia;  Trotsky  until  1933  had  equated  the  Russian 
Thermidor  with  a  return  to  capitalism.  Pabloism  was  more 
than  a  symmetrical  false  theory,  more  than  simply  an 
impressionistic  over-reaction  against  orthodoxy;  it  was  a 
theoretical  justification  for  a  non-revolutionary  impulse 
based  on  giving  up  a  perspective  for  the  construction  of  a 
proletarian  vanguard  in  the  advanced  or  the  colonial 
countries. 

In  January  1951  Pablo  ventured  into  thg  realm  of  theory 
with  a  document  called  "Where  Are  We  Going?"  Despite 
whole  paragraphs  of  confused  crackpotism  and  virtually 
meaningless  bombast,  the  whole  revisionist  structure 
emerges: 

"The  relation  of  forces  on  the  international  chess-board  is 
now  evolving  to  the  disadvantage  of  imperialism. 

"An  epoch  of  transition  between  capitalism  and  socialism, 
an  epoch  which  has  already  begun  and  is  quite  advanc- 
ed ...  .  This  transformation  will  probably  take  an  entire 
period  of  several  centuries  and  will  in  the  meantime  be 
filled  with  forms  and  regimes  transitional  between  capital- 
ism and  socialism  and  necessarily  deviating  from  'pure' 
forms  and  norms. 

"The  objective  process  is  in  the  final  analysis  the  sole 
determining  factor,  overriding  all  obstacles  of  a  subjective 
order. 

"The  Communist  Parties  retain  the  possibihty  in  certain 
circumstances  of  roughly  outlining  a  revolutionary  orien- 
tation." 

Pablo's  elevation  of  the  "objective  process"  to  "the  sole 
determining  factor"  reducing  the  subjective  factor  (the 
consciousness  and  organization  of  the  vanguard  party)  to 
irrelevance,  the  discussion  of  "several  centuries"  of  "transi- 
tion" (later  characterized  by  Pablo's  opponents  as  "centuries 
of  deformed  workers  states")  and  the  suggestion  that 
revolutionary  leadership  might  be  provided  by  the  Stalinist 
parties  rather  than  the  Fourth  International— the  whole 
analytic  structure  of  Pabloist  revisionism  emerged. 

In  another  document,  "The  Coming  War,"  Pablo  put 
forward  his  poHcy  of  "entrism  sui  generis"  (entrism  of  its 
own  kind): 

"In  order  to  integrate  ourselves  into  the  real  mass 
movement,  to  work  and  to  remain  in  the  masses'  trade 
unions  for  example,  'ruses'  and  'capitulations'  are  not 
only  acceptable  but  necessary." 

In  essence,  the  Trotskyists  were  to  abandon  the  perspective 
of  short-term  entrism  whose  purpose  had  always  been  to  split 
the  working-class  organizations  on  a  hard  programmatic  basis 
as  a  tactic  for  building  the  Trptskyist  party.  The  new  entrist 
policy  flowed  directly  from  Pablo's  analysis.  Since  the 
asserted  shift  in  the  world  relationship  of  forces  in  favor  of 
the  advance  of  the  revolution  would  compel  the  StaHnist 
parties  to  play  a  revolutionary  role,  it  was  only  logical  that 
the  Trotskyists  should  be  a  part  of  such  parties  pursuing 
essentially  a  pohcy  of  pressuring  the  StaUnist  apparatus. 
All  this  should  have  exploded  a  bomb  in  the  heads  of  the 


international  Trotskyist  cadres.  Pablo  was  after  all  the  head 
of  the  International  Secretariat,  the  resident  pohtical  body  of 
the  Fourth  International!  But  there  is  httle  evidence  of  even 
alarm,  let  alone  the  formation  of  the  international  anti- 
revisionist  faction  which  was  required.  One  long  document 
by  Ernest  Germain  ("Ten  Theses"),  and  perhaps  some 
subterranean  rumbling,  did  force  Pablo  to  produce  an 
attempt  at  orthodoxy  on  the  question  of  the  "transitional 
period"  but  no  other  Uterary  notice  was  taken  of  Pablo's 
most  overt  assault  against  the  program  of  Trotskyism. 

Germain  Resists 

In  March  1951  Germain  produced  "Ten  Theses,"  which 
was  a  veiled  attack  on  "Where  Are  We  Going?"  but  did  not 
attack  Pablo  or  the  document  by  name.  Germain  restated  the 
Marxist  use  of  "transitional  period"  as  the  period  between  the 
victory  of  the  revolution  (the  dictatorship  of  the  proletariat) 
and  the  achievement  of  sociahsm  (the  classless  society). 
Without  any  expUcit  reference  to  Pablo's  position,  he  wrote: 
"No  more  than  the  bourgeoisie  will  it  [Stahnism]  survive  a 
war  which  will  be  transformed  into  a  world  upsurge  of  the 
revolution."  Germain  insisted  on  the  contradictory  Bona- 
partist  character  of  Stalinism,  based  on  proletarian  property 
forms  while  safeguarding  the  privileged  position  of  the 
bureaucracy  against  the  workers.  He  emphasized  the  dual 
nature  of  the  mass  CPs  outside  the  USSR  as  determined  by 
their  proletarian  base  on  the  one  hand  and  their  subservience 
to  the  Stalinist  bureaucracies  in  power  on  the  other. 

Germain  attempted  to  present  the  orthodox  response  to 
the  Pabloist.  impulse  that  the  destruction  of  capitaUsm  in 
Eastern  Europe,  China  and  Yugoslavia  without  a  Trotskyist 
leadership  made  the  Fourth  International  superfluous.  Again, 
he  did  not  refer  to  the  positions  he  was  attacking;  one  would 
have  thought  that  the  'Ten  Theses"  simply  dropped  from 
the  sky  as  an  interesting  theoretical  exercise,  rather  than  in 
response  to  the  emergence  of  a  revisionist  current  completely 
counterposed  to  Germain's  thrust.  Insisting  that  a  new 
worldwide  revolutionary  upsurge  would  not  stabilize  Stalin- 
ism but  rather  was  a  mortal  danger  to  it,  he  wrote: 

"It  is  because  the  new  revolutionary  wave  contains  in 
•  embryo  the  destruction  of  the  Stalinist  parties  as  such 
that  we  ought  to  be  much  closer  today  to  the  Communist 
workers.  This  is  only  one  phase  of  our  fundamental  task: 
to  construct  new  revolutionary  parties .  .  .  ."  [our 
emphasis] 

"To  be  'closer  to  the  Stalinist  workers'  then  signifies  at 
the  same  time  to  affirm  more  than  ever  our  own  program 
and  our  own  Trotskyist  policy." 

The  "Ten  Theses"  showed  that  all  wings  of  the  Trotskyist 
movement  were  still  incapable  of  grasping  the  nature  of  the 
social  transformations  which  had  occurred  in  Eastern  Europe 
(although  the  analysis  of  the  British  Haston-Grant  RCP 
majority,  borrowed  by  the  SWP's  Los  Angeles  Vern-Ryan 
grouping,  achieved  the  beginning  (but  only  the  beginning)  of 
wisdom  in  recognizing  that  in  the  immediate  post-war  period 
an  examination  of  native  property  forms  would  hardly 
suffice  since  the  state  power  in  Eastern  Europe  was  a  foreign 
occupying  army,  the  Red  Army).  In  1951  Germain  still 
considered  the  process  of  "structural  assimilation"  uncom- 
pleted (!)  and  predicted  the  assimilation  of  the  armies  of  the 
East  European  states  into  the  Soviet  army-i.e.,  that  Eastern 
Europe  would  simply  be  incorporated  into  the  Soviet  Union. 


FALL  1972 


9 


Germain  did  recognize  that  the  transformation  in  Eastern 
Europe  destroyed  capitaHsm  but  contained  within  it,  even  in 
victory,  a  decisive  bureaucratic  obstacle  to  socialist  develop- 
ment; he  stressed  that  the  expansion  of  the  USSR's  non- 
capitalist  mode  of  production  "is  infinitely  less  important 
than  the  destruction  of  the  living  workers'  movement  which 
has  preceded  it." 

No  such  inbuilt  obstacle  was  recognized  with  regard  to 
China  and,  especially,  Yugoslavia.  The  Trotskyists  were 
unable  to  disassociate  the  phenomenon  of  Stalinism  from  the 
person  of  Stahn;  the  Titoists'  break  from  the  Kremlin 
obscured  any  recognition  that  Yugoslavia  would  necessarily 
pursue  qualitatively  identical  domestic  and  diplomatic  poli- 
cies in  safeguarding  the  interest  of  its  own  national  bureau- 
cratic regime  against  the  working  class.  Uneasy  about 
admitting  that  Stalinist  forces  heading  peasant  masses  could 
ever  consummate  an  anti-capitalist  revolution,  Germain  in 
"Ten  Theses"  termed  both  the  Yugoslav  and  Chinese  events 
proletarian  revolutions  and  also  argued  that  "under  such 
conditions,  these  parties  cease  being  Stalinist  parties  in  the 
classical  sense  of  the  term." 

Whereas  Pablo  took  these  events  as  the  new  revolutionary 
model  which  invalidated  "  'pure'  forms  and  norms"  (i.e.,  the 
Russian  Revolution)  Germain— again  without  referring  to 
Pablo— stressed  that  they  were  as  a  result  of  exceptional 
circumstances  which  in  any  case  would  not  be  relevant  to 
advanced  industrial  countries.  He  contrasted  "the  de  facto 
United  Front  which  today  exists  between  the  colonial 
revolutions  in  Asia  and  the  Soviet  bureaucracy,  which  has  its 
objective  origin  in  their  being  both  menaced  by  imperial- 
ism .  . ."  with  the  possibilities  for  Europe.  He  concurred 
in  the  prediction  of  an  imminent  World  War  lil  between  "the 
united  imperialist  front  on  the  one  hand  and  the  USSR,  the 
buffer  countries  and  the  colonial  revolutions  on  the  other" 
but  rather  than  hailing  it,  termed  it  a  counter-revolutionary 
war. 

The  crux  of  Germain's  argument  was: 

"What  matters  above  all  in  the  present  period  is  to  give 
the  proletariat  an  international  leadership  capable  of 
coordinating  its  forces  and  proceeding  to  the  world 
victory  of  communism.  The  StaUnist  bureaucracy,  forced 
to  turn  with  a  blind  fury  against  the  first  victorious 
proletarian  revolution  outside  the  USSR  [Yugoslavia!] ,  is 
socially  incapable  of  accomplishing  any  such  task.  Herein 
lies  the  historical  mission  of  our  movement  ....  The 
historical  justification  for  our  movement  .  .  .  resides  in  the 
incapacity  of  Stalinism  to  overturn  world  capitalism,  an 
incapacity  rooted  in  the  social  nature  of  the  Soviet 
bureaucracy." 

With  the  advantage  of  hindsight  and  the  experience  of  the 
past  20  years-the  counter-revolutionary  nature  of  StaUnism 
reaffirmed  most  clearly  in  Hungary  in  1956;  the  1960  Cuban 
revolution  in  which  petty-bourgeois  nationalism  at  the  head 
of  peasant  guerillas  uprooted  capitalism  only  to  merge  with 
the  Stalinist  apparatus  internally  and  internationally;  the 
consistently  nationalist  and  Stalinist  policies  of  the  Chinese 
CP  in  power-it  is  easy  to  recognize  that  "Ten  Theses"  is 
flawed  in  its  analysis  and  predictions.  What  is  much  more 
important,  however,  is  the  document's  consistent  and 
deliberate  non-factional  tone  which  presaged  Germain's 
refusal  to  place  himself  in  the  anti-Pabloist  camp.  Divorced 
from  the  determination  to  fight  for  a  correct  line  in  the 


Fourth  International,  Germain's  theoretical  defense  of  the 
necessity  of  Trotskyism  meant  very  little.  This  was  Pabloism 
merely  at  one  remove,  the  denial  of  the  subjective  factor  in 
the  revolutionary  process. 

Third  World  Congress 

The  Third  World  Congress  of  the  Fourth  International  was 
held  in  August-September  1951.  The  main  political  report 
attempted  to  distinguish  between  the  Communist  Parties  and 
"reformist  parties"  on  the  grounds  that  only  the  former  were 
contradictory,  and  projected  that  under  the  pressure  of  a 
strong  mass  upsurge  the  CPs  could  become  revolutionary 
parties.  The  opportunist  nature  of  Pablo's  version  of  an 
entrism  tactic  was  sharply  revealed  in  the  repudiation  of  the 
principled  entrist  goal  of  sharp  polarization  and  split:  "The 
possibilities  of  important  splits  in  the  CPs  ...  are  replaced  by 
a  leftward  movement  within  the  CPs  among  its  rank  and 
file."  There  was  no  recognition  of  decisive  deformations  in 
the  East  European  and  Chinese  workers  states;  thus  implicit- 
ly the  Congress  posed  only  a  quantitative  difference  between 
the  Soviet  Union  of  Lenin  and  the  degenerated  and  deformed 
workers  states.  The  report  projected  the  possibility  that  Tito 
might  "head  a  regroupment  of  revolutionary  forces  inde- 
pendent of  capitalism  and  of  the  Kremlin  .  .  .  playing  a  major 
role  in  the  formation  of  a  new  revolutionary  leadership." 
There  was  no  mention  of  the  perspective  of  permanent 
revolution  for  the  colonial  countries. 

The  application  of  Pablo's  poHcy  of  "entrism  sui  generis" 
was  elaborated  in  the  Austrian  Commission: 

"The  activity  of  our  members  in  the  SP  will  be  governed 
by  the  following  directives:  A.  Not  to  come  forward  as 
Trotskyists  with  our  full  program.  B.  Not  to  push  forward 
programmatic  and  principled  questions  .  .  . 

No  quantity  of  verbal  orthodoxy  in  resolutions  could  have 
any  longer  obscured  the  vision  of  those  who  wanted  to  see. 

The  Parti  Communiste  Internationaliste  of  France  submit- 
ted Germain's  "Ten  Theses"  for  a  vote  (after  Germain 
himself  had  apparently  l)acked  out  of  doing  so)  and  proposed 
amendments  to  the  main  document.  No  vote  was  taken  on 
the  "Ten  Theses"  or  the  French  amendments.  The  PCI  voted 
against  adopting  the  thrust  of  the  main  document;  it  was  the 
only  section  to  do  so. 

In  the  months  that  followed,  the  Pabloist  line  was 
elaborated  along  the  lines  already  made  clear  before  and  at 
the  Third  World  Congress: 

"We  are  entering  (the  Stahnist  parties]  in  order  to  remain 
there  for  a  long  time  banking  on  the  great  possibility  of 
seeing  these  parties,  placed  under  new  conditions  ["a 
generally  irreversible  pre-revolutionary  period"],  develop 
centrist  tendencies  which  will  lead  a  whole  stage  of  the 
radicaUzation  of  the  masses  and  of  the  objective  revolu- 
tionary processes  .  .  .  ." 

(Pablo,  Report  to  the  1 0th  Plenum  of  the 
International  Executive  Committee,  February 
1952) 

"Caught  between  the  imperialist  threat  and  the  colonial 
revolution,  the  Soviet  bureaucracy  found  itself  obliged  to 
ally  with  the  second  against  the  first  ....  The  disintegra- 
tion of  StaUnism  within  these  parties  ought  not  to  be 
understood  ...  as  an  organizational  disintegration  ...  or  a 

(Continued  next  page) 


10 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Pabloism 

public  break  with  the  Kremlin  but  as  a  progressive  internal 

transformation." 

("The  Rise  and  Decline  of  Stalinism,"  Interna- 
tional Secretariat,  September  1953) 


V.  THE  ANTI-PABLOISTS 


implications  of  the  Pabloist  entrism.  In  a  polemic  against 
minority  theoretician  Mestre  the  majority  had  written: 

"If  these  ideas  are  correct,  stop  chattering  about  the  tactic 
of  entrism,  even  entrism  sui  generis,  and  pose  clearly  our 
new  tasks:  that  of  a  more  consistent  tendency,  not  even  a 
left  opposition  .  .  .  whose  role  is  to  aid  Stalinism  to 
overcome  its  hesitation  and  to  pose  under  the  best 
conditions  the  decisive  clash  with  the  bourgeoisie  ....  If 
Stahnism  has  changed  ...  {it  means  that]  it  no  longer 
reflects  the  particular  interests  of  a  bureaucratic  caste 
whose  very  existence  depends  on  the  unstable  equilibrium 
between  classes,  that  it  is  no  longer  bonapartist,  but  that 
it  reflects  solely  ...  the  defense  of  the  workers  state.  That 
such  a  transformation  should  be  produced  without  the 
intervention  of  the  Soviet  proletariat  .  .  .  but  on  the 
contrary  by  an  evolution  of  the  bureaucracy  it- 
self .  .  .  would  lead  us  not  merely  to  revise  the  Transition- 
al Program  [but]  all  the  works  of  Leon  Trotsky  since 
1923  and  the  foundation  of  the  Fourth  International." 

("First  Reflections  of  Zig  Zag,"  PCI  Internal 

Bulletin  No.  2,  February  1952) 

But  the  PCI  majority,  not  unlike  the  SWF,  demonstrated  a 
failure  of  concrete  internationalism  when  faced  with  the 
prospect  of  all  alone  carrying  through  the  fight  against 
Pabloism. 

On  3  June  1952  the  PCI  majority  asked  for  recognition  of 
two  French  sections  of  the  Fourth  International,  thus 
permitting  the  PCI  majority  to  carry  out  its  own  policies  in 
France.  This  was  in  clear  violation  of  the  founding  statutes  of 
the  Fourth  International  and  meant  the  liquidation  of  the 
International  as  a  disciplined  world  body.  What  was  required 
as  an  international  faction  fight  over  the  political  line  of  the 
Fourth  International.  But  the  PCI  majority  was  unwilling  to 
subordinate  work  in  France  to  the  crucial  fight  for  the 
legitimacy  and  continuity  of  the  Fourth  International. 
Pablo's  refusal  to  accede  to  this  demand  led  directly  to  the 
split  of  the  PCI  m'ajority. 

SWP  Enters  the  Struggle 

The  SWP  only  joined  the  fight  against  revisionism  when  a 
pro-Pabloist  tendency,  the  Clarke  wing  of  the  Cochran-Clarke 
faction,  manifested  itself  within  the  American  party.  In  his 
reply  to  Renard  dated  29  May  1952  Cannon  had  said: 

"We  do  not  see  ["any  kind  of  pro-Stalinist  tendency"]  in 
the  International  leadership  of  the  Fourth  International 
nor  any  sign  nor  symptom  of  it.  We  do  not  see  any 
revisionism  [in  the  documents]  ...  we  consider  these 
documents  to  be  completely  Trotskyist  ....  It  is  the 
unanimous  opinion  of  the  leading  people  in  the  SWP  that 
the  authors  of  these  documents  have  rendered  a  great 
service  to  the  movement." 

The  story  that  the  SWP  had  prepared  some  amendments  to 
the  Third  World  Congress  documents  which  Clarke  (SWP 
representative  to  the  International)  had  burned  instead,  of 
presenting  is  quite  possibly  true  but  not  very  significant,  in 
view  of  Cannon's  declaration  of  political  allegiance  to  Pablo 
when  it  counted,  in  refusing  to  solidarize  with  the  anti- 
Pabloist  PCI  majority. 

Against  Cochran-Clarke's  advocacy  of  an  orientation 
toward  the  CP  fellow-travellers,  the  SWP  majority  affirmed 
support  to  the  Pabloist  CP  entrism  tactic  in  general  but 
insisted  on  a  kind  of  American  exceptionalism,  contrasting 
the  mass  European  parties  with  the  pathetic  American  CP 
milieu,  lacking  a  working-class  base  and  peopled  with  shoddy 


With  the  capitulation  of  Germain,  whose  role  in  the 
preliminary  conflicts  over  Pabloist  policies  is  ambiguous  but 
in  whom  the  French  appear  to  have  placed  some  degree  of 
confidence,  the  task  of  fighting  Pabloism  fell  to  the  French 
PCI  majority  of  Bleibtreu-Lambert  and  the  American  SWP. 
Despite  a  considerable  body  of  mythology  to  the  contrary, 
both  the  PCI  and  SWP  vacillated  when  revisionism  manifest- 
ed itself  at  the  head  of  the  Fourth  International,  balking  only 
at  applying  it  to  their  own  sections.  Both  groups  compromis- 
ed themselves  by  uneasy  acquiescence  (combined  in  the  case 
of  the  PCI  with  sporadic  resistance)  to  Pablo's  policies 
until  the  suicidal  organizational  consequences  to  their 
sections  necessitated  sharp  fights.  Both  abdicated  the  re- 
sponsibility to  take  the  fight  against  revisionism  into  every 
body  and  every  section  of  the  Fourth  International  and  both 
retreated  from  the  struggle  by  the  foundation  of  the 
"Internafional  Committee"  on  the  basis  of  "the  principles  of 
orthodox  Trotskyism."  The  IC  from  its  inception  was  only  a 
paper  international  tendency  consisting  of  those  groups 
which  had  already  had  splits  between  pro-Pabloist  and 
orthodox  wings. 

PCI  Fights  Pablo 

The  PCI  majority,  having  had  been  placed  in  receivership 
by  the  International  Secretariat  (which  had  installed  the 
Pablo-loyal  minority  led  by  Mestre  and  Frank  as  the 
leadership  of  the  French  section),  continued  to  claim 
agreement  with  the  line  of  the  Third  World  Congress,  arguing 
that  Pablo  and  the  IS  and  lEC  were  violating  its  decisions! 
According  to  the  French,  Pabloism  "utilizes  the  confusions 
and  contradictions  of  the  World  Congress-where  it  could  not 
impose  itself-in  order  to  assert  itself  after  the  World 
Congress."  (undated  "Declaration  of  the  Bleibtreu-Lambert 
Tendency  on  the  Agreements  Concluded  at  the  lEC,"  March 
or  April  1952) 

An  important  letter  dated  16  February  1952  from  Renard 
on  behalf  of  the  PCI  majority  to  Cannon  appealed  to  the 
SWP.  Renard's  letter  claimed  agreement  with  the  Third 
World  Congress,  including  its  French  Commission,  and 
contrasted  the  supposedly  non-Pabloist  World  Congress 
(citing  vague  platitudes  to  demonstrate  its  presumably 
orthodox  thrust)  with  Pablo's  subsequent  actions  and  line  in 
the  lEC  and  IS.  Renard  asserted  that  "Pabloism  did  not  win 
out  at  the  Third  World  Congress."  (He  wisely  did  not 
attempt  to  explain  why  his  organization  voted  against  the 
main  Congress  documents!)  The  main  argument  of  the  letter 
is  an  appeal  against  the  Pabloist  international  leadership's 
intervention  into  the  French  national  section. 

Cannon's  reply  of  29  May  accused  the  PCI  majority  of 
Stalinophobic  opportunism  in  the  union  movement  (a  bloc 
with  progressive  anti-communists  agains  the  CP)  and  denied 
the  existence  of  any  such  thing  as  Pabloism. 

The  PCI  majority  evidenced  a  clear  understanding  of  the 


FALL  1972 


11 


third-rate  intellectuals. 

In  response  to  the  Cochran-Clarke  threat,  Cannon  set 
about  forming  •  a  faction  in  the  SWP  aided  by  the  Weiss 
leadership  in  Los  Angeles.  Cannon  sought  to  line  up  the  old 
party  cadre  around  the  question  of  conciliation  to  Stalinism 
and  appealed  to  the  party  trade  unionists  like  Dunne  and 
Swabeck  by  drawing  an  analogy  between  the  need  for 
factional  struggle  within  the  party  and  the  struggle  within 
the  class  against  the  reformists  and  sellouts  as  parallel 
processes  of  factional  struggle  against  alien  ideology.  He  told 
the  May  1953  SWP  Plenum: 

"During  the  course  of  the  past  year,  I  had  serious  doubts 
of  the  ability  of  the  SWP  to  survive  ....  I  thought  that 
our  25  year  effort  .  .  .  had  ended  in  catastrophic  failure, 
and  that,  once  again,  a  small  handful  would  have  to  pick 
up  the  pieces  and  start  all  over  again  to  build  the  new 
cadre  of  another  party  on  the  old  foundations." 

(Closing  speech,  30  May) 

But  Cannon  chose  another  road.  Instead  of  pursuing  the 
necessary  struggle  wherever  it  might  lead,  Cannon  made  a 
bloc  with  the  Dobbs-Kerry-Hansen  apparatus  over  the  organi- 
zationally liquidationist  implications  of  the  Cochran-Clarke 
line.  In  return  for  their  support  Cannon  promised  the 
routinist,  conservative  Dobbs  administration  total  control  of 
the  SWP  with  no  further  interference  from  him  ("a  new 
regime  in  the  party"). 

The  SWP's  response  to  finding  the  dispute  in  the 
International  reflecting  itself  inside  the  American  section  was 
to  deepen  its  isolationism  into  virulent  anti-internationalism. 
Cannon's  speech  to  the  SWP  majority  caucus  on  18  May 
1953  stated,  "We  don't  consider  ourselves  an  American 
branch  office  of  an  international  business  firm  that  receives 
orders  from  the  boss"  and  extolled  discussion  in  which  "we 
work  d\it,  if  possible  [!],  a  common  line."  Cannon  denied 
the  legitimacy  of  an  international  leadership  and  referred  to 
"a  few  people  in  Paris."  He  contrasted  the  Fourth  Interna- 
tional with  Lenin's  Comintern,  which  had  state  power  and  a 
leadership  whose  authority  was  widely  recognized,  and  thus 
denied  that  the  contemporary  Fourth  International  could  be 
a  democratic  centralist  body. 

Cannon  belatedly  took  exception  to  Pablo's  conduct 
against*  the  French  majority,  but  only  over  the  organizational 
question  in  keeping  with  the  proposition  that  the  Interna- 
tional ■  leadership  should  not  intervene  in  the  affairs  of 
national  sections.  He  wrote: 

".  .  .  we  were  flabbergasted  at  the  tactics  used  in  the 
recent  French  conflict  and  spUt,  and  at  the  inconceivable 
organizational  precedent  established  there.  That  is  why  I 
delayed  my  answer  to  Renard  so  long.  I  wanted  to  help 
the  IS  pohtically,  but  I  didn't  see  how  I  could  sanction 
the  organizational  steps  taken  against  the  majority  of  an 
elected  leadership.  I  finally  resolved  the  problem  by  just 
ignoring  that  part  of  Renard's  letter." 

("Letter  to  Tom,"  4  June  1953) 

The  "Letter  to  Tom"  also  reiterated  the  position  that  the 
Third  World  Congress  was  not  revisionist. 

The  crucial  defects  in  the  anti-Pabloist  struggle  of  the  PCI 
and  SWP  were  duly  utilized  by  the  Pabloists.  The  14th  lEC 
Plenum  took  Cannon  to  task  for  his  concept  of  the 


International  as  a  "federative  union."  It  noted  that  the  SWP 
had  never  opposed  the  Pabloist  entrism  policy  in  principle 
and  accused  the  SWP-PCI  of  an  unprincipled  bloc  on  China. 
Seizing  on  the  SWP's  one-sided  orthodoxy  (Hansen's  defense 
of  an  SWP  majorityite's  formulation  that  Stalinism  is 
"counterrevolutionary  through  and  through  "-a  characteriza- 
tion which  fits  only  the  CIA!)  the  Pabloists  were  able  to 
cloak  their  liquidation  of  an  independent  Trotskyist  program 
with  pious  reaffirmations  of  the  contradictions  of  Stalinism 
as  a  counterrevolutionary  caste  resting  atop  the  property 
forms  established  by  the  October  Revolution. 

IC  Formed 

Following  the  Cochran-Clarke  split,  the  SWP  precipitously 
broke  publicly  with  Pablo.  On  16  November  1953  The 
Militant  carried  "A  Letter  to  Trotskyists  Throughout  the 
World"  which  denounced  Cochran-Clarke  and  Pablo  and 
belatedly  solidarized  with  the  "unjustly  expelled"  PCI 
majority.  The  SWP's  previous  characterizations  of  the  Third 
World  Congress  as  "completely  Trotskyist"  necessitated  an 
attempt  in  this  so-called  "Open  Letter"  to  locate  the 
emergency  of  Pabloism  after  the  Congress,  which  doomed 
the  SWP  to  present  a  somewhat  unconvincing  case  leaning 
heavily  on  a  leaflet  or  two  of  the  Pabloist  French  minority 
from  1952.  At  about  the  same  time  the  SWP  produced 
"Against  Pabloite  Revisionism"  dated  November  1953, 
which  contained  a  more  competent  analysis  of  Pablo's 
Uquidationist  accommodation  to  Stalinism: 

"The  conception  that  a  mass  Communist  Party  will  talce 
the  road  to  power  if  only  sufficient  mass  pressure  is 
brought  to  bear  is  false.  It  shifts  the  responsibihty  for 
revolutionary  setbacks  from  the  leadership  to  the 
mass  .  .  .  ." 

"The  working  class  is  transformed  [by  Pablo's  theories] 
into  a  pressure  group,  and  the  Trotskyists  into  a  pressure 
grouping  along  with  it  which  pushes  a  section  of  the 
bureaucracy  toward  the  revolution.  In  this  way,  the 
bureaucracy  is  transformed  from  a  block  and  a  betrayer  of 
the  revolution  ii;ito  an  auxiliary  motor  force  of  it." 

In  1954  the  "International  Committee"  was  formed.  It 
included  the  French  PCI  majority,  the  American  SWP 
(fraternal)  and  the  Healy  (Burns)  grouping  in  England.  The 
latter  did  not  play  any  significant  or  independent  role  in  the 
fight  against  revisionism.  The  Healy-Lawrence  split  from  the 
disintegrating  Revolutionary  Communist  Party  after  the  war, 
impelled  by  the  Healy-Lawrence  faction's  deep  entrist 
perspective  toward  the  British  Labour  Party,  had  been 
backed  by  Pablo's  International  Secretariat,  which  recogniz- 
ed two  sections  in  Britain  and  gave  them  equal  representafion 
on  the  lEC.  Healy  was  Cannon's  "man"  in  England  and  had 
been  consistently  supported  by  the  SWP  in  disputes  within 
the  RCP.  When  the  SWP  broke  fiom  Pablo,  the  Healy- 
Lawrence  faction  spht,  Healy  aligning  with  the  SWP  and 
Lawrence  with  Pablo  (Lawrence  later  went  over  to  Stalinism 
as  did  the  PCI  minority's  Mestre).  Despite  being  part  of  the 
new  anti-Pabloist  international  bloc,  the  Healy  group  con- 
tinued its  arch-Pabloist  Labour  Party  opportunism.  It  had  no 

(Continued  next  page) 


12 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Pabloism 

weight  in  the  IC  bloc  until  its  recruitment  of  an  impressive 
layer  of  CP  intellectuals  and  trade  unionists  (most  of  whom 
it  later  lost)  following  the  1956  Hungarian  Revolution  made 
it  considerably  more  substantial  in  the  British  left. 

The  IC  also  claimed  the  adherence  of  the  Chinese  (emigre) 
section,  which  had  already  undergone  a  split,  and  the  small 
Swiss  section. 

The  IC  managed  to  produce  a  couple  of  internal  bulletins 
in  early  1954  but  never  met  as  a  real  international  body,  nor 
was  a  centralized  leadership  ever  elected.  The  tactic  adopted 
by  the  SWP  was  to  boycott  the  Fourth  World  Congress,  as 
merely  a  meeting  of  Pablo's  faction  having  no  legitimacy  as 
the  Fourth  International. 

The  world  movement  paid  a  high  price  for  this  evasion.  To 
cite  only  one  example:  Ceylon.  The  Ceylonese  LSSP  took  a 
non-factional  position  on  Pabloism,  appealing  to  the  SWP  not 
to  split  and  to  attend  the  Fourth  Congress.  A  hard  fight 
should  have  been  aggressively  pushed  toward  the  passive 
Ceylonese  doubtists,  forcing  a  polarization  and  forging  a  hard 
cadre  in  the  struggle.  Instead  the  Ceylonese  drifted  along 
with  Pablo.  Some  seven  years  later,  the  revolutionary 
reputation  of  Trotskyism  was  besmirched  in  the  eyes  of 
militants  throughout  the  world  by  the  LSSP's  entry  into  the 
bourgeois  Ceylonese  coalition  government,  precipitating  a 
last-minute  split  by  the  international  Pabloist  leadership.  Had 
a  hard  principled  anti-revisionist  fight  been  waged  in  the 
Ceylon  section  in  1953,  a  hard  revolutionary  organization 
with  an  independent  claim  to  Trotskyist  continuity  might 
have  been  created  then,  preventing  the  association  of  the 
name  of  Trotskyism  with  the  fundamental  betrayal  of  the 
LSSP. 

Thus  the  anti-revisionist  fight  was  deliberately  not  carried 
to  the  world  movement,  the  IC  consisting  mainly  of  those 
groups  which  had  already  had  their  splits  over  the  application 
of  Pabloist  policies  in  their  own  countries,  and  the  struggle  to 
defeat  revisionism  and  reconstruct  the  Fourth  International 
on  the  basis  of  authentic  Trotskyism  was  aborted. 

From  Flirtation  to  Consummation 

In  1957  Pablo's  International  Secretariat  and  the  SWP 
flirted  with  possible  reunification  (the  Hansen-Kolpe  corres- 
pondence). The  basis  at  that  time  was  formal  orthodoxy-the 
similarity  of  line  between  the  IS  and  SWP  in  response  to  the 
1956  Hungarian  revolution.  The  SWP,  perhaps  naively  ex- 
pecting a  repetition  of  Clarke's  1953  position  on  the  possi- 
bility of  self-liquidation  of  the  Stalinist  bureaucracies,  tend- 
ed to  accept  the  IS's  formally  Trotskyist  conclusions  over 
Hungary  as  good  coin.  These  early  reunification  overtures 
came  to  naught  because  of  the  opposition  of  the  British  and 
French  IC  groups,  as  well  as  Cannon's  suspicions  that  Pablo 
was  maneuvering.  The  issue  was  posed  in  a  defective  way- 
simply  apparent  empirical  agreement  without  an  examination 
of  past  differences  and  present  motion. 

When  the  question,  of  reunification,  consummated  in 
1963  with  the  formation  of  the  United  Secretariat,  came  up 
again,  the  entire  political  terrain  had  shifted.  The  IS  and  the 


SWP  found  themselves  in  agreement  over  Cuba.  But  the  basis 
was  no  longer  an  apparent  convergence  on  orthodoxy,  but 
the  SWP's  abandonment  of  Trotskyism  to  embrace  Pabloist 
revisionism  (which  the  SWP  in  its  class-collaborationist  line  on 
the  Vietnamese  war  has  now  transcended  on  the  path  to  out- 
right reformism). 

The  basis  for  the  1963  reunification  was  a  document  titled 
"For  Early  Reunification  of  the  World  Trotskyist  Move- 
ment-Statement by  the  Political  Committee  of  the  SWP,"  1 
March  1963.  The  key  new  hne  was  section  13: 

"Along  the  road  of  a  revolution  beginning  with  simple 
democratic  demands  and  ending  in  the  rupture  of  capital- 
ist property  relations,  guerilla  warfare  conducted  by  land- 
less peasant  and  semi-proletarian  forces,  under  a  leadership 
that  becomes  committed  to  carrying  the  revolution 
through  to  a  conclusion,  can  play  a  decisive  role  in  under- 
mining and  precipitating  the  downfall  of  a  colonial  and 
semi-colonial  power.  This  is  one  of  the  main  lessons  to  be 
drawn  from  experience  since  the  Second  World  War.  It 
must  be  consciously  incorporated  into  the  strategy  of 
building  revolutionary  Marxist  parties  in  colonial  coun- 
tries." 

In  "Toward  Rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International,"  12 
June  1963,  the  Spartacist  tendency  counterposed: 

"Experience  since  the  Second  World  War  has  demonstrat- 
ed that  peasant-based  guerilla  warfare  under  petit-bour- 
geois leadership  can  in  itself  lead  to  nothing  more  than  an 
anti-working-class  bureaucratic  regime.  The  creation  of 
such  regimes  has  come  about  under  the  conditions  of  de- 
cay of  imperialism,  the  demoralization  and  disorientation 
caused  by  Stalinist  betrayals,  and  the  absence  of  revolu- 
tionary Marxist  leadership  of  the  working  class.  Colonial 
revolution  can  have  an  unequivocally  progressive  revolu- 
tionary significance  only  under  such  leadership  of  the  rev- 
olutionary proletariat.  For  Trotskyists  to  incorporate  into 
their  strategy  revisionism  on  the  proietarian  leadership  in 
the  revolution  is  a  profound  negation  of  Marxism- 
Leninism  no  matter  what  pious  wish  may  be  concurrently 
expressed  for  'building  revolutionary  Marxist  parties  in 
colonial  countries.'  Marxists  must  resolutely  oppose  any 
adventurist  acceptance  of  the  peasant-guerilla  road  to  so- 
cialism-historically  akin  to  the  Social  Revolutionary  pro- 
gram on  tactics  that  Lenin  fought.  This  alternative  would 
be  a  suicidal  course  for  the  socialist  goals  of  the  move- 
ment, and  perhaps  physically  for  the  adventurers." 

Ironically,  the  SWP's  further  rightist  evolution  leads  it  to 
now  repudiate  the  basic  line  of  section  13,  from  the  other 
side-the  U.Sec.'s  advocacy  of  petty-bourgeois  armed  struggle 
is  far  too  adventurous  for  the  legalistic  SWP  which  aims  to 
become  the  mass  party  of  American  reformism. 

Spartacist  and  the  Fourth  International 

In  his  struggle  to  found  the  Fourth  International,  Trotsky 
repeatedly  underscored  the  imperative  need  for  revolutionary 
organization  on  an  international  basis.  Prolonged  national 
isolation  within  one  country  must  ultimately  disorient, 
deform  and  destroy  any  revolutionary  grouping  no  matter 
how  subjectively  steadfast.  Only  a  principled  and  disciplined 
international  collaboration  can  provide  a  counterbalance  to 
the  fierce  pressures  toward  insularity  and  social  chauvinism 


FALL  1972 


13 


generated  by  the  bourgeoisie  and  its  ideological  agents  within 
the  working-class  movement.  As  Trotsky  recognized,  those 
who  deny  the  need  for  a  programmatically  founded  demo- 
cratic centralist  world  party  deny  the  Leninist  concept  of  the 
vanguard  party  itself.  The  destruction  of  the  Fourth  Interna- 
tional by  Pabloist  revisionism,  paralleled  by  organizational 
fracturing  into  numerous  competing  international  blocs, 
necessitates  unremitting  struggle  for  its  rebirth. 

In  our  ten  year  history,  the  Spartacist  tendency  has  faced 
and  resisted  powerful  objective  pressures  toyvard 
abandonment  pf  an  internationalist  perspective.  Cut  off  from 
the  possibility  of  disciplined  international  ties  as  a  result  of 
the  organizational  sectarianism  and  subsequent  political 
degeneration  of  Gerry  Healy's  International  Committee,  the 
Spartacist  League  has  refused  to  passively  acquiesce  to  the 
national  isolation  forced  upon  us.  We  have  emphatically 
rejected  the  ersatz  "internationalism"  which  achieves  its 
international  connections  at  the  price  of  a  federalist  non- 
aggression  pact  thus  renouncing  in  advance  the  struggle  for 
disciplined  international  organization.  We  have  sought  to 
develop  fraternal  ties  with  groupings  in  other  countries  as 
part  of  a  process  of  clarification  and  polarization.  Our  aim  is 
the  crystallization  of  a  cohesive  democratic  centralist  interna- 
tional tendency  based  on  principled  programmatic  unity,  the 


. . .  SWP 

(Continued  from  page  4) 

there  is  led  by  the  Leninist  party.  While  the  party  press  gives 
lip  service  to  [criticizing]  the  criminal  attitude  of  the  Chinese 
and  Soviet  workers'  states  toward  the  Vietnamese  Revolu- 
tion, we  maintain  that  Stalinism  is  still  the  major  obstacle  in 
the  workers  movement  to  the  international  socialist  revolu- 
tion and  must  be  thoroughly  exposed  and  fought  against  at 
every  step. 

In  trying  to  defend  the  Revolution  against  imperialism, 
the  party  blocs  with  one  wing  of  U.S.  imperialism  in  NPAC. 
The  betrayals  of  such  a  course  are  precisely  the  betrayals 
that  arose  in  the  classical  Popular  Front.  While  the  party 
should  attend  antiwar  conferences  and  marches,  it  should 
fight  to  unite  the  working  class  around  the  banner  of  Lenin- 
ism. It  should  have  a  position  of  revolutionary  defeatism  by 
making  a  clear,  unambiguous  call  for  the  military  victory  of 
the  DRVN,  and  NLF.  It  should  take  no  organizational  re- 
sponsibiHty  for  NPAC  and  should  oppose  the  idealistic  single- 
issuism  and  class  collaboration  that  characterize  it. 

7.  An  integral  part  of  the  party's  flight  from  a  revolution- 
ary working  class  program  has  been  its  flight  from  the  work- 
ing class  itself.  The  party's  line  dictates  a  primary  and  almost 
exclusive  orientation  to  the  petty  bourgeoisie,  which  is  re- 
flected in  the  party's  overwhelmingly  petty  bourgeois  com- 
position. These  two  interacting  factors,  program  and  com- 
position, lead  the  party  directly  away  from  revolutionary 
Marxism.  We  continue  to  call  for  a  proletarian  orientation,  as 
outlined  in  For  a  Proletarian  Orientation.  However,  we  be- 
lieve that  the  most  important  thing  is  not  simply  orienting  to 
and  becoming  rooted  in  the  working  class,  but  doing  that 
with  the  correct  program.  The  party's  energies  must  be  pri- 


embryo  of  a,  reborn  Fourth  International. 

The  current  cracking  of  the  several  international 
"Trotskyist"  blocs  now  provides  heightened  opportunity  for 
the  Spartacist  tendency  to  intervene  in  the  world  move- 
ment. Our  history  and  program  can  serve  as  a  guide  for  cur- 
rents now  in  motion  lowards  authentic  Trotskyism,  because 
despite  involuntary  national  isolation  for  a  time,  we  upheld 
our  internationalist  determination  and  continued  to  wage  a 
principled  fight  against  revisionism. 

The  shattering  of  the  revisionists'  and  centrists'  preten- 
sions to  international  organization-the  revelation  that  the 
United  Secretariat,  the  International  Committee,  etc.  have 
been  nothing  more  than  federated  rotten  blocs-combined 
with  the  worldwide  renewal  of  proletarian  combativeness  in  a 
context  of  sharpened  inter-imperialist  rivalry  and  intensified 
deep-seated  capitalist  crisis,  provide  an  unprecedented  objec- 
tive opportunity  for  the  crystallization  and  development  of 
the  Spartacist  tendency  internationally.  As  the  poHtical 
corpses  of  the  revisionist  blocs  continue  to  decay,  the  Fourth 
International,  world  party  of  socialist  revolution,  must  be 
reborn. 

FOR  THE  REBIRTH  OF 
THE  FOURTH  INTERNATIONAL! 


marily  oriented  to  the  working  class  and  to  building  a  Lenin- 
ist party  thoroughly  proletarian  in  composition. 

8.  The  current  program  of  the  SWP  is  sharply  counterpos- 
ed  to  the  revolutionary  heritage  of  the  party  and  to  the 
teachings  of  Marx,  Engels,  Lenin  and  Trotsky.  We  announce 
the  formation  of  the  Leninist  Faction  of  the  SWP  which 
shall  fight  to  win  the  majority  of  the  party  to  its  program. 

The  Leninist  Faction 
15  May  1972 


Marxist  Bulletin  No.  10 


DOCUMENTS  ON  THE  DEVELOPMENT 
OF  THE  COMMUNIST  WORKING 
COLLECTIVE  OF  LOS  ANGELES 

Ol  der  from:  SPARTACIST,  Box  1377,  G.P.O. , 
New  York,  N.Y,  10001 


14 


SPARTACIST 


Suppressed  Documents 
Expose  United  Secretariat 


The  Case  of 
Bala  Tampoe 

We  are  bringing  to  the  attention  of  the  international 
working-class  movement  the  "case"  of  Bala  Tampoe,  head  of 
the  Lanka  Sama  Samaja  Party  (Revolutionary),  Ceylon  sec- 
tion of  the  "United  Secretariat  of  the  Fourth  International." 
The  Tampoe  scandal  is  much  more  than  the  revelation  of 
clear-cut  anti-revolutionary  conduct  on  the  part  of  an  in- 
dividual U.Sec.  leader.  It  is  a  record  of  dehberate,  deep  and 
long-standing  complicity  on  the  part  of  the  U.Sec,  which  had 
continued  to  pass  off  as  a  "revolutionary"  an  individual 
compromised  by  the  most  shameless  violations  of  elemen- 
tary communist  morahty.  The  conduct  of  the  wretched 
Tampoe  is  in  and  of  itself  a  scandal  of  enormous  dimensions. 
But  the  Tampoe  "case"  is  crucial  in  that  it  unam'biguously 
reveals  on  the  part  of  the  U.Sec.  the  most  profound 
political  corruption. 

The  "case"  of  Bala  Tampoe  was  raised  at  the  U. See's 
"World  Congress"  in  April  1969,  at  the  insistence  of  Edmund 
Samarakkody,  a  member  of  the  International  Executive  Com- 
mittee whose  group  had  split  from  Tampoe's  LSSP(R)  the 
previous  year.  As  detailed  in  the  letter  from  Samarakkody 
reprinted  below,  a  Commission  on  Ceylon  was  estabhshed, 
which  met  with  Samarakkody  and  Tampoe.  Two  reports 
were  submitted  from  the  Commission,  a  report  of  the  Com- 
mission itself  and  a  separate  report  from  its  Indian  member, 
a  senior  leader  of  the  Indian  U.Sec.  group  who  served  as 
chairman  of  the  Commission. 

The  Commission  on  Ceylon  was  faced  with  the  question 
of  what  to  do  about  Tampoe  in  t'he  face  of  uncontested 
facts:  Tampoe's  acceptance  of  a  trip  to  the  United  States  in 
1967  financed  by  the  Asia  Foundation,  a  well-known  recip- 
ient of  CIA  funds,  during  which  Tampoe  had  a  private  inter- 
view in  Washington  with  McNamara,  then  U.S.  Secretary  of 


Defense;  Tampoe's  attendance  at  small  social  gatherings  of 
imperialist  diplomats,  including  a  private  reception  for  ex- 
Nazi  Kiesinger  of  West  Germany;  Tampoe's  conduct  as  the 
bureaucratic  head  of  the  Ceylon  Mercantile  Union,  a  large 
union  of  rather  conservative  white-collar  workers;  the  poli- 
cies of  the  LSSP(R)  particularly  in  situations  relating  to 
union  policy.  With  reference  to  the  latter,  the  Commission 
report  made  a  sweeping  denunciation  of  the  LSSP(R),  couch- 
ed in  mild  language:  ".  .  .in  none  of  these  instances  is  there 
any  evidence  that  the  party  took  what  the  Commission  con- 
sidered a  pohcy  consistent  with  revolutionary  Marxism,"  or 
as  the  Indian  delegate's  report  put  it,  "the  role  of  the 
LSSP(R)  during  some  of  the  recent  strikes  in  Ceylon  .  .  . 
has  been  such  as  to  place  the  party  in  the  camp  of  the  enemy 
as  opposed  to  workers  in  action." 

Any  one  of  these  incidents  would  have  been  sufficient  to 
compel  a  revolutionary  working-class  organization  to  im- 
mediately and  pubhcly  expel  Tampoe  as  a  traitor  and  an 
enemy.  But  of  course  the  U.Sec.  is  not  a  revolutionary 
working-class  organization.  Having  been  compelled  to  con- 
stitute a  Commission  on  Ceylon,  the  U.Sec.  then  suppress- 
ed the  entire  matter:  in  the  minutes  of  the  "World  Con- 
gress" there  appeared  not  a  single  reference  to  the  scandal- 
ous facts  which  were  the  basis  for  the  investigation!  Re- 
printed below  from  the  "World  Congress"  minutes  are  all 
the  sections  which  deal  with  the  Commission  on  Ceylon; 
they  give  no  hint  of  the  nature  of  the  uncontested  accusa- 
tions against  Tampoe. 

What  about  the  one  operative  recommendation  of  the 
Commissi6n-that  Tampoe's  dual  role  as  head  of  the 
X^SP(R)  and  of  the  Ceylon  Mercantile  Union  be  terminated 
"as  soon  as  possible"?  The  full  reports  of  the  Commission 
and  the  Indian  delegate  demonstrate  that  were  Tampoe 
forced  to  choose  between  control  of  the  30,000-member 
CMU  and  the  50-member  "party"-whose  policies  show  that 
it  is  self-evidently  nothing  other  than  an  appendage  of  Tam- 
poe's CMU  bureaucracy— there  can  be  httle  doubt  he  would 
choose  the  CMU.  And  three  years  later,  the  3  July  1972  is- 
sue of  the  SWP's  Intercontinental  Press,  in  reprinting  a 
resolution  of  the  General  Council  of  the  CMU,  referred  to 
"Bala  Tampoe,  general  secretary  of  the  union  and  secretary 
of  the  Lanka  Sama  Samaja  Party  (Revolutionary),  the  Cey- 
lonese  section  of  the  Fourth  International." 

So  much  for  the  Commission.  In  fact,  the  outcome  of  the 
Tampoe  "case"  was  never  in  doubt,  recommendations  for 
further  investigations  to  the  contrary.  For  the  "World  Con- 
gress" made  its  position  unambiguously  clear  when  it  unani- 
mously elected  Tampoe  to  the  incoming  lEC.  Thus  the 
U.Sec,  whose  adherents  pride  themselves  on  their  calls  for 
"Victory  to  the  NLF,"  included  on  its  leading  pohtical  body 
a  man  who  admittedly  has  private  discussions  with  U5.  im- 
periaUsm's  War  Minister! 

Some  Background 

,  The  Trotskyist  movement  in  Ceylon  developed  essentially 
after  Trotsky's  death,  but  achieved  effective  hegemony  in  the 
urban  working  class.  The  Lanka  Sama  Samaja  Party,  founded 
in  1935,  remained  insulated  from  the  Trotskyism/Stalinism 


FALL  1972 


15 


split  in  world  Communism  until  the  outbreak  of  World  War 
II,  when  the  urgent  question  of  the  Comintern's  line  toward 
the  war  propelled  a  split  in  the  LSSP.  The  forces  who  identi- 
fied with  Trotskyism  gained  the  majority  and  shortly  there- 
after expelled  the  Stalinists.  During  the  war  the  LSSP  was  il- 
legalized  and  most  of  its  leadership  arrested.  In  the  general 
strikes  that  broke  out  in  the  early  post-war  period,  the  LSSP 
consolidated  its  substantial  mass  base  amofig  the  Sinhalese 
working  class  in  the  cities,  but  never  attained  any  real  root- 
ing in  the  doubly  oppressed  Tamil  plantation  proletariat.  In 
the  Parliament  issuing  out  of  the  1947  elections,  the  LSSP 
was  the  main  Opposition  to  the  bourgeois  United  National 
Party.  The  LSSP  provided  the  leadership  for  the  massive  gen- 
eral strike  of  1952  against  the  UNP  government. 

In  1951  Bandaranaike  had  led  a  split  from  the  UN?  to 
form  the  Sri  Lanka  Freedom  Party  (now  led  by  his  widow). 
In  its  class  roots  and  program  the  SLFP  was  no  different 
than  the  UNP  from  which  it  had  issued.  After  the  1952  elec- 
tions, where  the  UNP  won  a  substantial  majority,  the  SLFP 
became  the  main  Parliamentary  Opposition.  In  the  period 
leading  up  to  the  1956  elections,  the  SLFP  made  its  move. 
Consolidating  an  electoral  bloc  with  a  group  which  had 
split  from  the  LSSP  in  1953,  the  SLFP  launched  a 
formidable  agitation  campaign  centered  around  a  policy  of 


"Sinhala  Only,"  aimed  against  the  pro-English  language  poli- 
cy of  the  UNP  but  mainly  against  the  Tamil  minority,  whip- 
ping up  and  capitaHzing  on  virulent  anti-Tamil  chauvinism. 
The  LSSP  maintained  its  programmatic  plank '  in  favor  of 
both  Sinhala  and  Tamil  being  official  languages,  but  defined 
the  defeat  of  the  UNP  as  the  main  task,  making  a  no-contest 
electoral  agreement  with  the  bourgeois  SLFP  bloc-a  policy 
which  the  LSSP  had  sought  since  195 1 . 

After  the  1956  elections  the  SLFP  bloc  became  the  gov- 
ernment. The  LSSP  led  the  Opposition  in  Parliament.  It  be- 
gan by  defining  its  atfitude  as  one  of  "responsive  coopera- 


tion" with  the  new  bourgeois  government, but  was  compelled 
into  a  more  oppositional  stance.  Widespread  rioting  which 
broke  out  in  1958  was  followed  by  the  imposition  of  a  state 
of  emergency  lasting  several  months.  Outbreaks  of  strikes 
continued  sporadically  for  several  years,  in  which  the  LSSP 
played  a  considerable  role  due  to  its  leadership  of  key  unions 
including  the  Government  Workers  Trade  Union  Federation. 

In  the  March  1960  elecfions,  the  LSSP  initially  stood  for 
election  in  its  own  name.  When  the  SLFP  government  lost  a 
motion  of  confidence,  forcing  new  elections,  the  LSSP  enter- 
ed into  a  no-contest  and  mutual  support  pact  with  the  SLFP. 
An  SLFP  government  was  installed  under  Mrs.  Bandaranaike. 
In  the  ensuing  Parliament  the  LSSP  defined  itself  as  neither 
part  of  the  government  nor  of  the  Opposition. 

In  1964  the  LSSP  entered  the  Bandaranaike  government 
composed  of  the  SLFP-LSSP-CP  and  was  suddenly  and 
speedily  expelled  by  the  United  Secretariat.  The  LSSP(R), 
the  current  "Ceylon  section"  of  the  UJSec,  was  formed  at 
that  time. 

The  importance  of  Ceylon  is  the  struggle  to  win  over  the 
Ceylonese  proletariat— and  especially  the  Tamil  plantation 
workers— as  a  staging  area  for  proletarian  revolution  on  the 
Indian  subconfinent  as  a  whole.  The  LSSP's  adaptation  to 
the  bourgeois  SLFP,  which  culminated  in  the  entry  into  the 
Bandaranaike  government  in  1964,  was  a  degeneration  be- 
gun years  before  and  ignored  by  the  Pabloists,  the  SWP  and 
the  Healyites  (see  WV  No.  3).  The  capitulation  to  the  SLFP 
was  rooted  at  least  in  part  in  the  LSSP's  historic  failure  to 
base  itself  among  the  Tamil  rural  proletariat,  finding  roots 
almost  exclusively  in  the  relatively  privileged  unionized  Sin- 
halese workers,  leading  to  accommodation  when  the  SLFP's 
appeal  to  anti-Tamil  chauvinism  among  Sinhalese  workers 
threatened  the  LSSP's  mass  base. 

After  the  "Ninth  World  Congress" 

In  the  spring  of  1971  a  mass  uprising  of  peasant  and  stu- 
dent youth  took  place  in  Ceylon.  The  uprising  was  led  by  the 
Janata  Vimukthi  Peramuna,  or  People's  Liberation  Front, 
which  had  been  organizing  clandestinely  since  1966.  The 
JVP  forces  had  initially  helped  to  install  the  SLFP-LSSP-CP 
government.  In  1971 ,  operating  under  youth-vanguardist  and 
peasant-vanguardist  conceptions,  the  JVP  launched  an  upris- 
ing. They  relied  on  their  own  forces,  without  having  politi- 
cally prepared  and  mobilized  any  section  of  the  broad  mass- 
es, neither  the  working  class  nor  the  peasantry.  The  JVP  had 
no  position  on  the  burning  question  of  the  rights  of  the  op- 
pressed Tamil  minority  in  Ceylon.  The  rebel  youth  demon- 
strated tremendous  combativity  and  courage  but  no  section 
of  the  masses  rose  in  support  of  the  youth,  who  were  bru- 
tally crushed.  The  Bandaranaike  government's  pretensions  to 
"socialist  democracy"  and  "anti-imperialism"  did  not  of 
course  interfere  with  its  bloody  repression  of  the  youth  up- 
rising. In  the  undertaking  the  government  received  military 
aid  from  Britain,  the  U.S., the  Soviet  Union,  India,  Pakistan, 
Egypt  and  elsewhere,  and  economic  aid  and  explicit  political 
solidarity  from  China.  Thus  all  interested,  counterposed 

(Continued  next  page) 


NOW  AVAILABLE: 

"Declaration  des  Principes  de  la  Spartacist 

League" 

(in  French) 

"Grundsatzerklarung  der  Spartacist  League' 
(in  German) 

"Declaracion  de  los  Principios  de  la 
Spartacist  League" 
(in  Spanish) 


25  CENTS  U.S. 

BOX  1377,  G.P.O.  . 
NEW  YORK,  N.Y.  10001 
U.S.  A. 


16 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Tampoe 

power  blocs  of  imperialists,  Stalinists  and  nationalists  com- 
peted in  aiding  the  Ceylonese  government  in  crushing  the 
domestic  uprising.  Thousands  of  youth  were  massacred  and 
thousands  more  arrested. 

The  line  of  the  United  Secretariat  was,  predictably,  to 
politically  solidarize  with  the  JVP  without  any  criticism  of  its 
Sinhalese  chauvinism,  its  adventurist  substitution  of  armed 
struggle  for  political  preparation  of  the  working  masses,  its 
denial  of  the  uniquely  leading  role  of  the  proletariat  in  social- 
ist revolution.  This  uncritical  Pabloist  tailing  of  qualitatively 
politically  defective  elements  is  classic  centrism. 

This  was,  however,  not  the  policy  of  the  U. See's  own 
section  in  Ceylon.  Tampoe  is  nothing  but  a  social  chauvinist 
and  cynical  reformist  union  bureaucrat.  Tampoe's  real  role 
caused  no  alarm  in  the  U.Sec.-it  had  after  all  been  clearly 
demonstrated  two  years  before  at  the  1969  "World  Con- 
gress." The  U.Sec.  simply  manufactured  a  fairy  tale  about 
the  role  of  Tampoe  and  the  LSSP(R)  in  the  youth  uprising. 

The  U.Sec.  Hne  was  presented  in  a  statement  of  the  U.Sec. 
printed  in  Intercontinental  Press,  19  April  1971.  The  claim 
is  that  the  JVP  and  the  LSSP(R)  were  participants  in  a  "sin- 
gle revolutionary  front"  leading  the  uprising.  The  same  line 
was  repeated  in  an  article  in  the  British  New  Left  Review, 
ffom  which  several  people  have  recently  gone  over  to  the 
UJSec.  (The  article  was  later  reprinted  in  PL  magazine,  of  all 
places.  This  puts  PL  in  the  unenviable  position  of  politically 
and  physically  attacking  all  "Trotskyites"— except  one— the 
one  who  took  money  from  the  Asia  Foundation.) 

The  problem  with  the  "single  revolutionary  front"  is 
really  quite  simple.  It  is  a  He  from  start  ti  finish.  The  JVP 
was  brutally  suppressed,  and  thousands  of  its  members  and 
suspected  members  were  indiscriminately  killed  or  arrested. 
For  weeks  the  bodies  of  young  people  killed  by  the  armed 
forces  floated  in  the  rivers  of  Ceylon.  It  is  a  fact  that  not  one 
member  of  the  LSSP(R)  was  taken  into  police  custody  at  that 
time  even  accidentally- surely  inexplicable  favoritism  on  the 
part  of  the  bourgeois  state  toward  an  organization  which  the 
U.Sec.  claims  was  equally  the  vanguard  ofithe  uprising! 

Tampoe  and  the  Youth  Uprising 

In  September  1971  one  Lord  Avebury  of  "Amnesty  In- 
ternational" was  expelled  from  Ceylon  after  attempting  to 
enter  a  youth  detention  camp.  A  government  communique 
identified  Bala  Tampoe  as  one  of  the  individuals  who  had  ac- 
companied Avebury.  It  further  stated:  "Lord  Avebury  was 
in  close  contact  with  several  persons  who  appeared  to  be  anx- 
ious to  embarrass  and  discredit  the  government  and  to  smear 
the  image  of  Ceylon,  in  this  island  and  abroad."  To  disassoci- 
ate himself  from  the  terrible  charge  of  wanting  to  discredit 
the  government— which  had  just  brutally  butchered  thou- 
sands of  young  insurgents-Tampoe  rushed  off  an  indignant 
letter:  "...  the  insinuation  ...  is  not  only  false  but  obvious- 
ly malicious.  Never  in  my  life  have  I  said  or  done  anything  to 
smear  the  image  of  Ceylon  in  this  island  or  abroad." 


A  letter  from  Tampoe  to  the  Prime  Minister  dated  30 
April  1971  hardly  befits  a  leader  in  a  "single  revolutionary 
front"  discussing  the  massive  execution  of  the  JVP.  Unwill- 
ing to  take  responsibihty  for  even  the  mildest  protest,  Tam- 
poe hid  behind  LSSP  Cabinet  Minister  LesHe  Goonewardena: 
"Mr.  Leslie  Goonewardena  himself  seems  to  beUeve  that  'ex- 
cesses' have  been  committed  by  the  armed  services  since  the 
uprising  began  .  .  .  ."  Tampoe  cannot  even  protest  the  un- 
speakably brutal  JVP  suppression  without  putting  the  word 
"excesses"  in  quotation  marks! 

In  August  1971  a  resolution  of  the  General  Council  of 
Tampoe's  CMU  resolved  that  "the  General  Council  will  mo- 
bilize the  entire  membership  of  the  union  to  make  whatever 
sacrifices  that  the  mass  organizations  of  the  people  may  con- 
sider necessary"  if  the  bourgeois  government  will  undertake 
measures  "to  break  Ceylon  free  of  the  stranglehold  of  Im- 
perialism upon  it,  and  thereby  to  enable  the  people  to  set 
about  tlie  establishment  of  a  genuine  sociaHst  democracy  in 
Ceylon."  To  call  upon  a  capitalist  regime— and  one  which  has 
just  demonstrated  its  viciously  reactionary  nature  in  blood- 
to  build  socialism,  to  urge  the  working  class  to  make  "sacri- 
fices" in  the  interests  of  such  a  government,  is  this  the  line 
of  the  United  Secretariat?  We  confidently  expect  that  at 
least  some  elements  in  the  U.Sec.  will  profess  themselves  very 
shocked  about  Tampoe's  conduct,  pleading  innocence  of  the 
information.  Yet  the  Intercontinental  Press  statement  quot- 
ed earlier  as  identifying  Tampoe  as  head  of  the  LSSP(R)  and 
the  CMU  is  an  introduction  to  a  declaration  of  the  very  same 
CMU  General  Council.  The  United  Secretariat's  selective 
memory  when  it  comes  to  Bala  Tampoe  is  quite  deliberate. 
It  is  the  application  in  practice  of  the  Pabloist  revisionism 
that  is  built  into  the  foundations  of  the  United  Secretariat. 
Thus  that  "United  Secretariat,"  its  "fraternal"  SWP  included, 
is  led,  purely  and  simply,  to  perpetuate  a  fraud  and  a  crime 
against  the  international  working  class. 


Revolutionary  Samasamaja  Party 
(Fourth  Internationalist) 
5C,  Galle  Road,  Dehiwala 
[Ceylon] 

26  May  1972 

Dear  Comrade  Gordon, 

I  received  your  letter  of  12  May  1972. 

Regarding  your  inquiry  on  the  authenticity  of  the  two 
typewritten  documents  entitled  "Report  of  the  Commission 
on  Ceylon  of  the  Ninth  World  Congress  of  the  Fourth  Inter- 
national" and  "[Indian  delegate's]  Report-Ceylon  Ques- 
tion" both  of  which  I  handed  to  Comrade  Bill  L.  when  he 
was  recently  in  Ceylon,  I  may  inform  you  as  follows: 

I  attended  the  Ninth  World  Congress  of  the  Fourth  Inter- 
national (United  Secretariat)  held  in  Europe  from  11  to  19 
April  1969  as  a  member  of  the  Internafional  Executive  "Com- 
mittee elected  at  the  Eighth  Congress  in  1965.  At  this  Con- 
gress (Ninth  Congress)  a  Commission  was  appointed  to 
inquire  into  the  circumstances  leading  to,  and  the  politics  of 
the  split  in  the  LSSP(R)  in  1968  and  the  request  of  the  RSP 


FALL  1972 


17 


that  it  be  recognized  as  the  Ceylon  section  of  the  Fourth  In- 
ternational. The  Commission  consisted  of  the  following: 
[two  delegates  from  North  America,  one  from  Switzerland, 
a  senior  delegate  each  from  China  and  India,  and  a  delegate 
from  Japan  designated  who,  however,  was  not  present] . 

[The  Indian  delegate]  left  the  Congress  on  the  17th.  Be- 
fore leaving  [the  Indian  delegate]  handed  me  a  copy  of  his 
report  which  he  stated  wais  a  minority  report  and  which  he 
left  with  the  Commission.  I  returned  his  report  to  [the  In- 
dian delegate]  after  taking  a  true  copy  of  it.  I  informed  [the 
Indian  delegate]  that  I  had  taken  a  copy  of  it. 

On  19  April,  two  days  after,  the  Ceylon  question  came  up 
for  consideration  before  the  Congress;  The  report  of  the 
Commission  was  read  out  in  open  Congress  by  a  member  of 
the  Commission  and  translated  simultaneously  to  other  lan- 
guages. Copies  of  the  report  were  handed  to  Tampoe  and  me. 
I  raised  with  the  Commission  the  question  of  the  minority 
report  of  [the  Indian  delegate]  a  copy  of  which  I  said  was 
with  me.  I  displayed  this  copy  of  the  [Indian  delegate's]  re- 
port and  requested  the  Commission  to  table  this  report.  The 
spokesman  for  the  Commission  thereupon  admitted  that  [the 
Indian  delegate]  had  submitted  a  report  but  that  it  was  not  a 
minority  report.  When  my  turn  for  intervention  in  the  Cey- 
lon question  came  I  quoted  extensively  from  the  [Indian 
delegate's]  report  without  being  challenged  in  regard  to  the 
accuracy  of  it. 

At  the  end  of  the  dehberations  on  the  Ceylon  question 
the  Praesidium  collected  the  copies  of  the  report  of  the  Com- 
mission that  were  in  the  hands  of  the  translators  and  also  the 
copies  that  had  been  handed  over  to  me  and  Tampoe.  I  how- 
ever had  with  me  my  copies  of  the  Commission  report  and 
[the  Indian  delegate's]  report  made  by  me  from  the  originals 
in  that  regard  when  these  were  handed  over  to  me  by  [a 
North  American  Commission  member]  and  [the  Indian  dele- 
gate].  respectively.  I  am  in  a  position  therefore  to  state  that 
the  copies  of  these  two  reports  that  I  handed  over  to  Com- 
rade L.  are  true  copies  of  the  Ceylon  Commission  report  and 
of  the  [Indian  delegate's]  report. 

You  are  free  to  give  publicity  to  these  reports.  I  agree 
with  you  that  "the  scandalous  revelations  will  be  a  service  to 
the  struggle  to  rebuild  the  Fourth  International." 

Yours  fraternally, 
[signed] 

Edmund  Samarakkody 
Secretary 

Revolutionary  Samasamaja  Party 


REPORT  OF  THE  COMMISSION 
ON  CEYLON 

The  Commission  had  to  deal  with  the  following  matters:— 
(a)  A  request  by  the  RSP  led  by  Comrade  Edmund  not  to 
allow  Comrade  Bala  to  sit  in  the  Congress  because  as  an 
"agent  of  the  class  enemy"  he  would  endanger  the  world 
movement.  This  request  was  reiterated  in  the  Commission 
and  in  front  of  the  Congress  charging  Bala  explicitly  with 
being  a  "CIA  agent." 


(b)  A  written  request  of  the  RSP  to  disaffiliate  the 
LSSP(R)  led  by  Comrade  Bala,  as  the  section  of  the  4th 
International  and  to  recognize  the  RSP  as  the  Ceylon  section 
of  the  4th  International. 

(c)  A  written  request  by  Comrade  Karalasingham  for  his 
tendency  that  neither  the  LSSP(R)  nor  the  RSP  be  recog- 
nized as  the  Ceylon  section  of  the  4th  International  by  this 
Congress. 

Concerning  the  charges  that  Comrade  Bala  is  an  agent  of 
the  enemy  class,  on  the  basis  of  documents  submitted  by 
Comrade  Edmund  and  Bala  and  after  hearing  extensively 
from  the  two  comrades  the  Commission  [found]  that  the 
accusation  that  Comrade  Bala  is  "an  agent  of  the  class 
enemy"  or  an  "agent  of  the  CIA"  was  totally  unsubstanti- 
ated by  Comrade  Edmund.  To  make  such  a  grave  charge  was 
totally  irresponsible  on  the  part  of  Comrade  Edmund  and 
should  be  condemned  by  the  World  Congress. 

All  members  of  the  Commission  were  able  to  agree  on  one 
point;  while  the  leadership  of  a  large  militant  union  by  a 
comrade  of  the  4th  International  might  be  an  important 
achievement,  the  close  interrelationship  between  the  Ceylon 
Mercantile  Union  (CMU)-a  union  of  30,000  white  collar 
workers  with  its  own  political  needs-and  a  small  party  of 
some  50  members  a  large  percentage  of  whom  either  belong 
to  the  union  'or  hold  leadership  positions  in  that  union 
inevitably  results  in  a  tendency  to  subordinate  the  party  line 
and  actions  of  the  party  to  the  needs  of  the  trade  union 
policy.  Such  a  situation  is  dangerous  even  if  the  comrades 
involved  start  with  the  best  revolutionary  intentions. 

It  was  with  this  question  that  the  Commission  was 
centrally  concerned.  The  Commission  did  not  feel  it  was  in  a 
position  to  fully  examine  the  policies  of  Comrade  Bala  in  his 
Union.  We  were  concerned  only  with  the  possible  subordina- 
tion of  party  policies  to  the  needs  of  the  union,  and  the 
serious  problems  posed  by  the  dual  position  of  Comrade  Bala 
as  secretary  of  the  LSSP(R): 

The  Commission  felt  that  some  of  the  actions  and  policies 
of  Comrade  Bala  and  the  LSSP(R)  brought  to  our  attention 
by  Comrade  Edmund  and  not  denied  by  Comrade  Bala  could 
have  seriously  damaged  the  reputation  of  Comrade  Bala  as  a 
revolutionary  leader,  compromised  the  4th  International  in 
Ceylon  and  [could]  have  been  exploited  by  all  the  enemies 
of  our  movement.  In  this  context,  we  refer  especially  to  the 
following  examples  :- 

(a)  A  series  of  incidents  which  together  constitute 
compromisingly  close  relations  between  Comrade  Bala  and 
the  Ceylonese  embassies  or  missions  of  the  imperialist 
countries; 

(1)  A  trip  to  the  U.S.  in  the  summer  of  1967,  financed 
by  the  Asia  Foundation. 

(2)  His  acceptance  of  a  small  private  luncheon  invitation 
at  the  residence  of  the  British  High  Commissioner,  during  the 
1966  plantation  workers  strike-a  luncheon  that  was  also 
attended  by  Thondaman,  a  trade  union  leader  who  was 
playing,  an  open  strikebreaking  role  against  the  plantation 
workers. 

(Continued  next  page) 


18 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Tampoe 

(3)  His  attendance  at  a  small  dinner  party  at  the  West 
German  Embassy  for  visiting  Chancellor  Kiesinger. 

.  (b)  A  letter  sent  to  the  Ceylonese  Prime  Minister  on  22 
January  1966  by  Comrade  Bala  in  his  capacity  as  union 
General  Secretary,  concerning  the  state  of  emergency  in 
which  he  implied  support  for  the  imposition  of  a  curfew  in 
response  to  the  "violence"  that  occurred  in  Colombo.  (This 
letter  is  included  in  bulletin  17  March  1969.) 

(c)  Comrade  Bala's  policy  in  regard  to  the  struggle  against 
devaluation  of  the  rupee  in  November-December  1967.  The 
CMU  did  not  support  the  strike  that  took  place  at  that  time 
in  the  private  sector.  Serious  questions  are  raised  concerning 
why  the  LSSP(R)  did  not  take  the  lead  in  fighting  for  united 
action  by  all  the  trade  unions  and  working-class  parties 
against  devaluation. 

Again  on  these  charges  and  in  other  similar  ones  we  did 
not  attempt  to  pass  judgment  on  the  policies  of  the  CMU, 
but  on  the  subordination  of  the  poUcies  of  the  LSSP(R)  to 
the  union,  as  in  none  of  these  instances  is  there  any  evidence 
that  the  party  took  what  the  Commission  considered  a  policy 
consistent  with  revolutionary  Marxism. 

The  Commission  was  not  unanimous  in  evaluating  all 
these  actions.  While  all  agreed  they  were,  or  could  be, 
extremely  compromising,  some  comrades  felt  they  might  be 
explained  in  the  context  of  Ceylonese  political  and  trade 
union  life;  others  felt  they  were  totally  unjustifiable. 

With  regard  to  the  appeal  of  the  RSP,  headed  by  Comrade 
Edmund,  to  be  recognized  as  the  Ceylon  section  of  the  4th 
International,  the  Commission  clearly  established  the  follow- 
ing facts:  (1)  that  this  group  while  in  the  LSSP(R)  before  the 
spht  operated  as  an  undeclared  faction  within  the  party,  (2) 
that  its  claim  of  manipulation  of  the  attendance  of  the  April 
1968  LSSP(R)  conference  is  extremely  dubious  since  at  this 
conference  both  tendencies  received  the  same  number  of 
votes  as  in  the  conference  of  June  1967,  (3)  that  while 
Comrade  Edmund's  tendency  was  not  granted  any  minority 
representation  at  this  1968  conference,  either  on  the  Central 
Committee  or  on  bodies  such  as  the  controlling  body  of  the 
party  press,  and  that  this  refusal  of  representation  is  contrary 
'to  Trotskyist  practice.  Comrade  Edmund's  group  split  one 
week  after  this  conference,  without  consulting  or  even 
informing  the  United  Secretariat  in  advance.  In  previous 
letters  the  United  Secretariat  had  clearly  stated  it  was 
opposed  to  any  splits  in  the  LSSP(R),  (4)  that  upon  splitting 
or  forming  the  RSP,  this  group  quickly  issued  a  declaration 
to  the  public  not  only  simply  announcing  its  break,  but 
attacking  Comrade  Bala,  leader  of  the  Ceylon  section, 
openly  as  an  enemy  of  the  working  class  and  in  a  thinly 
disguised  way  as  an  agent  of  the  CIA.  The  Ceylon  capitalist 
press  featured  the  full  text  of  this  statement  gravely  accusing 
Comrade  Bala  whose  union  had  just  ended  a  large  strike.  (5) 
Finally  in  its  press  and  its  letterhead  the  RSP  has  fraudulent- 
ly  proclaimed  itself  as  the  Ceylon  section  of  the  4th 
International. 

On  the  basis  of  the  undisputed  facts  the  Commission  had 
this  established,  and  after  lengthy  and  serious  consiideration, 


the  Commission  unanimously  recommends  the  following 
conclusions  to  the  World  Congress:- 

(1)  It  is  the  duty  of  the  4th  International  to  defend 
Comrade  Bala  against  accusations  of  the  "agent"  type.  The 
World  Congress  should  appeal  to  the  RSP  to  withdraw  these 
slanderous  and  damaging  accusations  publicly  and  in  an 
appropriate  manner. 

(2)  The  split  from  the  LSSP(R)  in  April  1968  was  only 
the  last  of  a  series  of  crises  and  breakaways  that  have  beset 
the  LSSP(R)  since  its  founding  in  the  necessary  break  from 
the  LSSP.  One  of  the  reasons  for  these  periodic  crises  is  that 
the  leadership  of  the  LSSP(R),  or  at  least  a  part  of  it,  could 
not  adapt  itself  to  the  new  reality  of  a  reduced  size  of  the 
party  and  tried  to  operate  as  they  did  during  the  days  of  the 
mass  LSSP.  The  United  Secretariat  was  completely  correct  in 
stating  that  there  was  no  principled  political  basis  for  the 
split  of  the  Edmund  group  from  the  LSSP(R).  The  4th 
International  hopes  that  eventually  all  Trotskyist  forces  in 
Ceylon  will  be  able  to  unite  their  efforts  in  one  organization. 
However  at  this  time,  the  latest  split  and  the  wounds  it  has 
caused  being  too  recent  to  allow  the  two  groups  to  function 
seriously  as  one. 

(3)  The  evidence  placed  before  the  Commission  tends  to 
support  the  conclusion  that  the  policies  followed  by  Com- 
rade Bala— especially  in  his  dual  role  as  CMU  secretary  and  as 
LSSP(R)  secretary-were  gravely  compromising  to  the  4th 
International.  The  Commission  was  not  in  a  position  to  get  a 
clear  enough  picture  of  the  policies  of  Comrade  Bala  in  the 
concrete  circumstances  of  Ceylon  and  the  LSSP(R)  to 
propose  that  this  section  be  disaffiliated  by  the  World 
Congress.  But  we  strongly  feel  the  need  for  further  investiga- 
tion of  this  matter.  We  therefore  recommend  the  estaWish- 
ment  of  a  small  Commission  composed  of  experienced 
comrades,  preferably  including  at  least  one  comrade  able  to 
speak  the  languages  of  Ceylon  who  could  investigate  the  case 
by  going  to  that  country.  At  the  same  time,  of  course,  the  FI 
should  not  only  investigate,  but  should  try  to  help  the 
LSSP(R)  concretely  in  its  work. 

Specifically  we  urge  the  World  Congress  the  following:— 

(1)  That  the  leading  bodies  of  the  International  be 
instructed  to  appoint  a  small  investigating  committee  along 
the  lines  mentioned  above.  This  committee  will  submit  a 
report  of  its  findings  and  its  recommendations  for  action  to 
the  next  meeting  of  the  lEC. 

(2)  That  the  lEC  act  with  all  possible  speed  on  the 
recommendations  of  this  committee  with  full  powers  of  a 
World  Congress  including  the  power  to  disaffiliate  the 
LSSP(R)  as  the  Ceylon  section  of  the  4th  International  if  it 
feels  this  is  the  proper  action. 

(3)  That  until  the  lEC  decides  otherwise,  the  LSSP(R) 
remains  the  Ceylon  section  of  the  FI  and  thus  should  be 
given  all  possible  assistance  in  its  work  by  all  bodies  of  the 
International. 

(4)  That  the  double  function  of  Comrade  Bala  as  the 
secretary  of  both  the  CMU  and  the  section  be  terminated  as 
rapidly  as  possible. 

(5)  The  RSP  would  not  be  recognized  as  the  Ceylon 
section  even  were  there  not  already  a  recognized  section  in 
Ceylon.  The.  unacceptable  methods  by  which  this  tendency 
carried  through  its  factional  fight  before  and  after  the  split 
dictate  a  very  reserved  attitude  on  this  question.  We  appeal 


FALL  1972 


19 


to  the  RSP  to  prove  its  loyalty  to  the  FI  in  renouncing  at 
once  the  pretension  of  being  the  recognized  section,  by 
retracting  the  above  mentioned  attacks  of  a  factional 
[nature]  upon  the  LSSP(R)  and  its  leadership,  and  by  this 
means  prepare  the  eventual  regrouping  of  the  Trotskyist 
forces  of  Ceylon  in  a  united  section. 

INDIAN  DELEGATE'S  REPORT 

The  Ceylon  Commission  invited  both  Comrade  Bala 
Tampoe  as  General  Secretary  of  the  LSSP(R),  the  official 
section  of  the  Fourth  International  in  Ceylon,  and  Comrade 
Edmund  Samarakkody,  leader  of  the  RSP  which  has  broken 
with  the  section,  to  explain  their  respective  positions  in 
'  connection  with  the  split  of  April  1968  following  a  special 
Conference  of  the  Party. 

The  Commission  had  before  it  a  written  representation 
submitted  by  the  Provisional  Committee  of  the  RSP  entitled 
"Events  leading  to  the  spht  in  LSSP(R)  in  April  1968" 
demanding  that  the  LSSP(R)  be  disaffiliated  as  a  section  of 
the  Fourth  International  on  the  grounds  that  the  latter  was 
following  bourgeois  politics  alien  to  Marxism-Leninism  and 
further  suggests  that  the  RSP  be  recognized  as  a  section  in  its 
place. 

The  RSP  has  also  made  some  charges  of  a  personal  nature 
against  Comrade  Bala  as  the  leader  of  the  LSSP(R).  These 
charges  relate  to  a  trip  made  by  Comrade  Bala  to  the  U.S.  of 
America  on  an  invitation  and  financed  by  the  Asia  Founda- 
tion and  also  to  the  unusually  friendly  relations  maintained 
by  him  with  the  British  and  West  German  diplomatic  missions 
in  Colombo. 

Comrade  Bala  on  the  other  hand  made  a  separate 
•representation  in  a  statement  on  behalf  of  the  CC  of  the 
LSSP(R)  challenging  the  right  of  Comrade  Edmund,  a  former 
member  of  the  lEC,  to  be  present  at  the  World  Congress  as  a 
representative  of  a  split  away  group.  He  had  accused 
Comrade  Edmund  of  splitting  the  Party  in  defiance  of  a 
specific  directive  given  by  the  Fourth  International  leader- 
ship for  maintaining  unity,  and  of  now  trying  to  cover  it  up 
with  various  baseless  charges. 

The  Commission  sought  clarification  from  both  comrades 
on  the  charges  and  counter-charges  made  by  them  against 
each  other.  It  is  indeed  regrettable  that  the  split  in  the 
LSSP(R)  took  place  in  the  manner  in  which  it  did  without 
giving  proper  opportunity  to  the  International  leadership  to 
intervene  and  avert  it  if  possible. 

Comrade  Edmund  justified  the  split  on  the  grounds  that 
the  differences  between  his  tendency  and  the  majority  of  the 
LSSP(R)  had  reached  a  stage  where  they  could  not  be 
resolved  within  a  single  organization.  He  also  maintained  that 
he  kept  the  United  Secretariat  informed  of  the  develop- 
ments. He  claimed  the  support  of  40  out  of  110,  members 
who  consfituted  the  LSSP(R)  in  1964  after  they  broke  away 
-from  the  reformist  LSSP  led  by  N.M.  Perera  a$  a  protest 
against  the  class  collaborationist  coalition  politics  of  the 
leadership  of  the  united  LSSP. 

The  LSSP(R)  which  was  recognized  as  an  official  section 
of  the  Fourth  International  in  1964  had  to  contend  with  the 


secession  of  a  pro-coalition  tendency  led  by  Comrade  Karlo 
which  has  since  entered  the  reformist  LSSP.  It  had  then  to 
face  the  disruptionist  activities  of  the  Healyites  inside  its 
organizational  fold.  After  the  April  1968  split  the  Healyites 
have  left  the  Party  to  form  their  own  separate  group.  It  has 
been  contended  thit  some  of  the  Healyites  are  still  in  the 
LSSP(R)  led  by  Comrade  Bala. 

The  latest  split  has  not  only  seriously  undermined  the 
prestige  of  the  Fourth  International  in  Ceylon  where  the 
Trotskyist  movement  had  once  a  mass  party  in  the  LSSP 
which  has  since  degenerated.  On  the  basis  of  some  reports 
before  the  Commission  there  is  no  guarantee  that  the 
LSSP(R)  as  constituted  at  present  after  April  1968  will  not 
further  split  especially  in  the  context  of  the  Healy  tendency 
in  the  fold. 

Therefore  it  is  necessary  for  the  World  Congress  to 
re-examine  the  entire  strategy  of  constructing  a  section  of 
the  Fourth  International  in  Ceylon  by  regrouping  the  best 
elements  of  the  Trotskyist  movement. 

It  must  be  said  that  the  Commission  did  not  have  any 
evidence  to  substantiate  the  charge  made  by  Comrade 
Edmund  that  Comrade  Bala  is  an  agent  of  the  CIA,  because 
he  accepted  a  trip  to  the  U.S.A.  on  a  project  sponsored  by 
the  Asia  Foundation.  The  Commission  rejects  the  charge  as 
irresponsible  and  motivated  by  factional  considerations. 

But  at  the  same  time  the  Commission  cannot  but  take  a 
dim  view  of  the  manner  in  which  Comrade  Bala  got  himself 
invited  to  the  U.S.A.  ostensibly  under  a  project  sponsored  by 
the  Harvard  University.  Although  Comrade  Bala  maintains 
that  he  had  kept  the  United  Secretariat  and  SWP  informed 
about  his  trip,  some  of  his  activities  in  Washington  like  his 
interview  with  McNamara  have  not  been  fully  explained. 
Also  the  unusually  friendly  relations  he  maintains  with  the 
diplomatic  missions  of  West  Germany  (he  was  invited  to  a 
dinner  party  by  West  German  Chancellor  Kiesinger)  and  U.K. 
(he  and  his  wife  were  invited  to  a  luncheon  by  the  British 
High  Commissioner  in  the  midst  of  a  strike  of  plantation 
workers)— all  these  do  not  befit  a  militant  trade  unionist  and 
a  revolutionary  Marxist  belonging  to  the  Fourth  Internation- 
al. More  important,  however,  is  the  fact  that  the  political 
positions  adopted  by  the  LSSP(R)  leadership  on  a  number  of 
questions  during  the  last  two  or  three  years  and  the  trade 
union  tactics  pursued  by  Comrade  Bala  as  leader  of  the  CMU 
also  give  scope  for  a  great  deal  of  misunderstanding.  There  is 
enough  documentary  evidence  to  show  that  the  LSSP(R)  has 
been  pursuing  a  Une  on  issues  like  united  fronts  with  other 
working-class  organizations  which,  to  say  the  least,  does  not 
conform  to  the  general  strategy  of  the  Fourth  International 
movement.  The  role  of  the  LSSP(R)  during  some  of  the 
recent  strikes  in  Ceylon  like  the  Government  Employees 
strike  and  workers'  strike  action  against  devaluation  measures 
of  the  UNP  government,  and  its  consistent  refusal  to  have 
joint  action  with  other  working-class  parties  has  been  such  as 
to  place  the  party  in  the  camp  of  the  enemy  as  opposed  to 
workers  in  action.  It  has  been  even  alleged  that  during  a 
recent  strike  some  of  the  CMU  units  on  specific  instructions 
from  the  leadership  resorted  to  strikebreaking  activities-not 

(Continued  next  page) 


20 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Tampoe 

a  complimentary  development  for  the  Fourth  International 
movement. 

Further  the  letter  written  by  Comrade  Bala  to  the  Prime 
Minister  of  the  UNP  government  during  the  anti-devaluation 
strike  and  the  privileged  treatment  given  to  him  to  hold  a 
public  meeting  when  meetings  by  others  were  banned  in 
Colombo— along  with  some  other  incidents— have  made  Com- 
rade Bala  a  suspect  in  the  eyes  of  the  militant  working-class 
movement  in  Ceylon.  Comrade  Bala's  contention  that  the 
charges  had  been  borrowed  from  the  journals  pubUshed  by 
the  LSSP,  CP(M)  and  pro-Peking  group,  etc.,  does  not 
minimize  the  gravity  of  the  situation. 

There  is  enough  evidence  to  show  that  the  CMU  is 
controlled  bureaucratically  by  Comrade  Bala.  His  wife  is  an 
important  paid  functionary  of  the  CMU.  So  are  some  of  the 
other  colleagues  of  his  in  the  LSSP(R).  The  fact  that  a 
section  controls  a  big  union  like  the  CMU  with  a  membership 
of  30,000  is  indeed  a  positive  gain.  But  it  must  be 
remembered  that  the  CMU  consists  mostly  of  white  collar 
employees  known  for  their  conservative  political  outlook 
especially  in  Ceylon.  And  there  is  an  unfortunate  tendency 
on  the  part  of  Comrade  Bala  to  subordinate  the  pohtics  of 
the  LSSP(R)  to  the  needs  of  the  CMU. 

This  perhaps  explains  to  a  large  extent  the  opportunist 
tactics  pursued  by  the  party  on  several  trade  union  questions. 
Whatever  be  the  final  decision  of  the  World  Congress  on  the 
status  of  the  LSSP(R)  there  is  certainly  a  need  for  separating 
the  leadership  of  the  LSSP(R)  from  that  of  the  CMU.  In 
other  words  the  top  functionary  of  the  CMU  should  not  be 
the  chief  executive  of  the  Party  especially  when  the  CMU 
represents  the  only  mass  [base]  of  the  Party  in  Ceylon. 

There  are  several  charges  against  the  leadership  of  the 
LSSP(R)  which  could  not  be  verified  on  the  basis  of  the 
documents  placed  before  the  Commission.  But  there  is 
enough  grounds  to  feel  that  there  is  something  rotten  about 
the  functioning  of  the  Ceylon  section  as  it  stands.  It  has  been 
alleged  by  a  member  of  the  LSSP(R),  Comrade  T.M.  Perera 
for  example,  that  the  leadership  denied  any  representation  to 
the  minority  represented  by  Edmund  on  even  the  CC  of  the 
LSSP(R).  Even  if  some  of  the  charges  are  exaggerated  the 
repercussions  of  unseemly  controversy  now  raging  in  Ceylon 
in  other  countries  can  be  far  reaching. 

Under  the  circumstances,  the  Commission  feels  that  it 
would  seriously  undermine  the  prestige  of  the  Fourth 
International  as  an  international  party  of  the  revolutionary 
proletariat  if  the  LSSP(R)  as  constituted  today  is  continued 
as  an  official  section  of  the  Fourth  International.  Its  bona 
fides  are  in  doubt,  even  if  there  is  no  slur  on  the  character  of 
the  individual  leaders  of  the  Party.  The  Commission  there- 
fore recommends  that  the  LSSP(R)  should  be  disaffiliated  as 
i  a  section  to  create  the  proper  political  conditions  and 
facilitate  the  regrouping  of  genuine  Trotskyist  elements  in 
Ceylon  as  a  new  secfion  of  the  Fourth  International. 

At  the  same  time  the  Commission  rejects  the  claim  of  the 
RSP  to  be  granted  recognition  as  an  official  section  of  the 
Fourth  International  as  the  behavior  of  its  leadership  in 


precipitating  a  split  has  been  far  from  being  responsible.  The 
Commission  deeply  regrets  to  recommend  such  steps  in  a 
country  where  the  Trotskyist  movement  has  had  a  long 
tradition.  It  would  have  favored  a  course  whereby  the  two 
tendencies  that  have  split  from  each  other  could  be  brought 
together  into  a  "single,  party.  Such  a  possibility  does  not  exist 
for  the  present. 

The  Commission  suggests  that  the  World  Congress  should 
set  up  a  special  Commission  with  powers  to  visit  Ceylon  at  an 
early  date  and  explore  the  possibility  of  a  new  section  of  the 
Fourth  International  being  built  in  that  country. 

"WORLD  CONGRESS" 
MINUTES 

"MINUTES  OF  THE  THIRD  WORLD  CONGRESS  SINCE 
REUNIFICATION  (NINTH  WORLD  CONGRESS)  OF  THE 
FOURTH  INTERNATIONAL,  WORLD  PARTY  OF  THE 
SOCIALIST  REVOLUTION." 

[Extracts  dealing  with  Ceylon] 


I.  ORGANIZATION  OF  THE  CONGRESS. 

Procedural  motions  from  the  outgoing  United  Secretariat: 

d.  That  the  following  commissions  be  constituted  with 
the  following  members: 

3.  Ceylon  Commission-Therese,  Abel,  Kailas,  Pia, 
Peng,  Okatani  (if  he  arrives). 

Bala  raises  question  as  to  the  basis  for  constitution  of 
the  Ceylon  Commission. 

Clarification  by  Livio  for  the  outgoing  United  Secre- 
tariat that  the  Ceylon  Commission  was  constituted  to  review 
an  appeal  and  charges  made  by  Comrade  Edmund,  a  member 
of  the  outgoing  lEC. 

Pia  requests  that  he  not  be  a  member  of  the  Ceylon 
Commission. 

Amendment  by  Pia:  That  Pia  be  removed  from  the 
Ceylon  Commission. 

Amendment  by  Pia  defeated. 

Motion  by  Therese:  To  approve  the  composition  of 
all  commissions  as  amended. 

Motion  carried. 

XI.  REPORT  FROM  THE  CEYLON  COMMISSION  by  Pia. 
Motions  from  Ceylon  Commission: 

1.  That  the  leading  bodies  of  the  International  be  in- 
structed to  appoint  a  small  investigating  committee  along  the 
lines  mentioned  above.  This  committee  will  submit  a  report 
of  its  findings  and  its  recommendations  for  action  to  the 
next  meeting  of  the  lEC. 

2.  That  the  lEC  act  with  all  possible  speed  on  the  recom- 
mendations of  this  committee  with  the  full  powers  of  a 


FALL  1972 


21 


World  Congress,  including  the  power  to  disaffiliate  the 
LSSP(R)  as  the  Ceylon  section  of  the  Fourth  International  if 
it  feels  this  is  the  proper  action. 

3.  That  until  the  lEC  decides  otherwise,  the  LSSP(R) 
remains  the  Ceylonese  section  of  the  Fourth  International, 
and  thus  should  be  given  all  possible  assistance  in  its  work 
by  all  bodies  of  the  International. 

4.  That  the  double  function  of  Comrade  Bala  as  secre- 
tary of  both  theCMU  and  the  section  be  terminated  as  rapid- 
ly as  possible. 

5.  The  RSP  would  not  be  recognized  as  the  Ceylon  sec- 
tion even  were  there  not  already  a  recognized  section  in 
Ceylon.  Th,e  unacceptable  methods  by  which  this  tendency 
carried  through  its  factional  fight  before  and  after  the  split 
dictate  a  very  reserved  attitude  on  this  question.  We  appeal 
to  the  RSP  to  prove  its  proclaimed  loyalty  to  the  Fourth  In- 
ternational in  renouncing  at  once  the  pretension  of  being  the 
recognized  section,  by  retracting  the  above-mentioned  unac- 
ceptable attacks  upon  Comrade  Bala,  by  renouncing  further 
attacks  of  a  factional  nature  upon  the  LSSP(R)  and  its  leader- 
ship, and  by  this  means  prepare  the  eventual  regrouping  of 
the  Trotskyist  forces  of  Ceylon  in  a  united  section. 

Motion  by  Pia:  That  Bala  and  Edmund  be  given  each 
one-half  hour  to  explain  their  positions. 

Motion  carried. 

Discussion  on  Ceylon  Commission  report:  Edmund, 
Bala,  Pierre. 

Motion  by  Pierre:  That  the  only  question  to  be  dis- 
cussed now  is  the  recognition  of  the  Ceylon  section. 
Discussion. 

Motion  carried. 

Continuation  of  discussion  on  Ceylon  Commission  re- 
port: Walter,  Abel. 

Motion  by  Abel:  That  the  International  Executive 
Committee  investigate  with  the  full  power  of  the  World  Con- 
gress the  allegations  made  by  the  comrades  from  Ceylon  and 
that  the  incommg  I  EC  have  the  power  to  disaffiliate  the 
Ceylon  section  pending  the  results  of  the  investigation. 

Continuation  of  discussion  on  Ceylon  Commission  re- 
port: Lewis,  Walter,  Abel,  Gulam,  Pierre. 

Summary  of  Ceylon  Commission  report  by  Pia. 


Xin.  VOTING  ON  RESOLUTIONS  AND  COMMISSION 
REPORTS. 

5.  Motion  by  Abel: 

a.  That  this  World  Congress  rejects  the  request  that  the 
LSSP(R)  be  disaffiliated  and  that  the  RSP  of  Comrade 
Edmund  be  recognized  as  the  Ceylon  section. 

b.  The  LSSP(R)  is  and  remains  the  Ceylon  section  of  the 
Fourth  International. 

c.  That  in  view  of  the  charges  leveled,  we  instruct  the  Inter- 
national Control  Commission  to  carry  out  a  thorough  in- 
vestigation and  to  submit  a  report  containing  its  findings  and 


its  recommendations  for  action  to  the  coming  meeting  of 
the  lEC. 

Motion  by  Pierre: 

a.  The  World  Congress  rejects  the  request  by  Comrade 
Edmund  for  disaffiliafion  of  the  LSSP(R). 

b.  The  LSSP(R)  is  and  remains  the  Ceylonese  section  of  the 
Fourth  International. 

c.  The  next  session  of  the  I  EC  will  have  on  its  agenda  the 
activity  of  the  Ceylon  section. 

Points  a.  and  b.  of  both  motions  carried  unanimously. 

Roll  call  vote  on  point  c.  of  Abel's  motion. 

Full  delegates:  14  for,  28  against,  8  abstentions. 

Fraternal  delegates:  8  for,  8  against,  no  absten- 
tions. 

Motion  defeated. 

Voice  vote  on  point  c.  of  Pierre's  motion. 
Motion  carried  unanimously. 


XIV.  ELECTION  OF  THE  INTERNATIONAL  EXECUTIVE 
COMMITTEE. 

Motion  by  Walter:  That  the  following  comrades  make 
up  the  I  EC:  ...Bala  

Motion  by  Walter:  To  accept  slate  as  amended  by  in- 
clusion of  [two  additional  nominees]  as  full  members. 

Motion  carried  unanimously.  ■ 


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22 


SPARTACIST 


• . .  Economism 

(Continued  from  page  24) 

economism  is  the  failure  of  the  working  class,  in  the  absence 
of  revolutionary  leadership,  to  reject  bourgeois  ideology  and 
place  its  revolutionary  class  interests  above  particular,  sec- 
tional or  apparent  needs  or  desires.  Concretely,  economism 
manifests  itself  in  competition  between  groups  of  workers 
undercuttmg  or  destroying  the  unity  of  the  entire  class, 
support  by  the  labor  movement  for  its  national  bourgeoisie, 
failure  to  fight  racial  and  sexual  oppression,  indifference  to 
democratic  rights  and  civil  liberties,  and  a  lack  of  concern  for 
the  cultural  heritage  of  mankind  (bourgeois  culture). 

What  economism  is  not  is  the  workers'  strong  desire  for  a 
higher  standard  of  living.  On  the  contrary,  the  basis  of 
economism  is  the  material  and  cultural  oppression  of  the 
working  class.  It  is  material  deprivation,  or  the  fear  of  it, 
which  causes  groups  of  workers  to  view  their  particular  and 
immediate  interests  as  more  important  than  any  other 
consideration.  It  is  social  and  cultural  oppression  which 
causes  workers  to  accept  pernicious  bourgeois  ideologies  like 
nationalism  and  religion.  The  struggle  to  raise  the  material 
and  cultural  level  of  the  workers  is  essential  to  the  real 
struggle  against  economism.  The  need  for  a  revolutionary 
transitional  program  is  precisely  to  ensure  that  these  gains  do 
not  come  at  the  expense  of  other  sections  of  the  oppressed 
but  transcend  the  framework  of  competition  for  "a  slice  of 
the  pie."  Preachments  of  moral  uplift  in  the  labor  movement 
are  not  a  serious  fight  against  economism. 
Social-Democratic  Reformism  and  Trade  Unionism 

There  is  a  strong  tendency  on  the  left  to  identify 
economism  with  simple  trade  unionism  and  thus  to  see  any 
concern  with  the  affairs  of  government  as  a  step  away  from 
economism.  The  Workers  League,  American  affiliate  of  Gerry 
Healy's  "International  Committee,"  presents  any  strike 
propaganda  containirig  demands  on  the  government,  or 
raising  the  slogan  of  a  labor  party  regardless  of  its  program, 
as  inherently  anti-economist.  Lenin  is  sufficiently  explicit 
that  economism  does  not  mean  merely  lack  of  concern  for 
"politics."  The  economism/poUtics  dichotomy  demonstrates 
crude  anti- Leninism.  In  What  Is  To  Be  Done?  Lenin 
repeatedly  insists: 

"Lending  'the  economic  struggle  itself  a  political  charac- 
ter' means,  therefore,  striving  to  secure  satisfaction  of 
trade  [union]  demands,  the  improvement  of  working 
conditions  in  each  separate  trade  ...  by  legislative  and 
administrative  methods.  This  is  precisely  what  all  trade 
unions  do  and  have  always  done  ....  the  phrase  'lending 
the  economic  struggle  itself  a  political  character'  means 
nothing  more  than  the  struggle  for  economic  reforms." 

Trade  unions  are  always  and  necessarily  impeded  by  the 
bourgeois  state.  Even  the  most  backward  trade  union 
bureaucrats  are  in  favor  of  reducing  legal  restrictions  on 
themselves  and  achieving  through  government  reforms  what 
caimot  be  attained  over  the  bargaining  table. 

Social-democratic  reformism  and  simple  business  union- 
ism are  two  forms  of  economism  that  usually  co-exist 
peacefully  within  the  labor  movement.  And  when  reformism 
and  business  unionism  do  conflict,  it  is  not  always  "pohtics" 
(reformism)  that  represents  the  higher  form  of  class  struggle. 
In  the  U.S.  proto-social -democratic,  "progressive"  unionists 
(Sidney  Hillman,  Walter  Reuther)  have  often  been  less 


militant  in  industrial  conflicts  than  straight  business  unionists 
(John  L.  Lewis,  Jimmy  Hoffa).  This  is  because  the  "political- 
ly concerned,"  "progressive"  union  bureaucrats  are  closely 
associated  with  a  wing  of  the  Democratic  Party,  which 
they  don't  want  to  embarrass  by  industrial  disruption. 
The  "anti-economism"  of  these  politically  sensitive  union 
bureaucrats  is  a  facade  for  sellouts  and  a  cover  for  seeking 
bourgeois  respectability. 

Coalitionism 

One  of  the  few  constant  elements  in  the  New  "Left 
radicalism  of  the  past  ten  years  has  been  the  denial  of  the 
unique  and  leading  role  of  the  organized  working  class  in  the 
socialist  revolution.  Replacements  have  been  sought  in  "the 
wretched  of  the  earth,"  the  "Third  World,"  racial  and  ethnic 
minorities  in  countries  like  the  U.S.,  then  the  lumpens, 
students  and/or  youth  dropouts.  Recently  a  spirit  of  ecumen- 
ism has  made  itself  felt  in  radical  circles  and  all  oppressed 
social  groups  are  expected  to  participate  in  the  revolution  on 
an  equal  footing. 

The  strategy  is  seen  as  building  a  coalition  of  various 
oppressed  groups  on  a  "program"  achieved  through  the 
multi-lateral  trading  of  demands.  For  example,  if  the 
women's  liberation  movement  supports  the  repeal  of  anti- 
strike  legislation,  the  unions  in  turn  are  expected  to  support 
the  repeal  of  anti-abortion  laws.  The  two  most  developed 
advocates  of  coalitionism  in  the  ostensibly  Marxist  U.S.  left 
are  the  Socialist  Workers  Party  and  the  Labor  Committe.  The 
SWP  projects  a  coalition  largely  based  on  ethnic  and  sexual 
groups  around  a  petty-bourgeois  Utopian  program,  while  the 
Labor  Committee  presents  a  coalition  of  economically 
defined  groups  around  a  social-democratic  program.  Thus, 
the  SWP  foresees  a  black,  Chicano,  women's,  homosexuals' 
and  workers'  revolution,  while  the  LC  looks  forward  to  a 
trade  unionist,  unemployed,  welfare  recipient,  white-collar 
and  student  soviet. 

Its  advocates  see  coalitionism  as  a  means  of  fighting 
economism.  In  actuality,  coalitionism  is  simply  another  form 
of  economism.  It  is  based  on  the  central  theoretical  premise 
of  economism— that  the  working  class  cannot  transcend  (as 
distinct  from  disregard  or  deny)  its  immediate  sectional 
interests  and  identify  its  interests  with  all  the  oppressed  and 
with  the  future  of  humanity.  Coalitionism  does  not  seek  to 
transform  the  consciousness  of  workers,  but  simply  to  gain 
their  acquiescence  for  some  "other"  group's  "program"  on 
the  basis  of  necessarily  unstable  bargains.  To  the  extent  that 
they  concern  themselves  with  the  labor  movement  at  all, 
coalition  advocates  perpetuate  the  view,,  that  workers  are 
selfish  pigs  whose  political  activities  are  correlated  purely  and 
simply  to  their  paychecks. 

Working-Class  Conservatism  and 
Petty-Bourgeois  Utopianism 

Revisionists  and  fakers  feed  upon  the  left's  general  lack  of 
familiarity  with  pre-Marxian  socialism.  Thus  people  are 
permitted  to  call  themselves  Marxists  while  putting  forward 
the  very  ideas  against  which  Marxism  developed.  A  superfi- 
cial view  of  Leninism  is  that  it  developed  solely  in  opposition 
to  reformism  and  simple  trade  unionist  consciousness.  But 
Bolshevism  also  developed  in  intense  struggle  against  petty- 
bourgeois  Utopian  radicalism,  particularly  in  its  anarchist 
variant.  As  Lenin  noted  in  Left-Wing  Communism: 


FALL  1972 


23 


"It  is  not  yet  sufficiently  known  abroad  that  Bolshevism 
grew,  took  shape  and  became  steeled  in  long  years  of 
struggle  against  'petty-bourgeois  revolutionariness,'  which 
smacks  of  or  borrows  something  from  anarchism,  and 
which  in  all  essentials  falls  short  of  the  conditions  and 
requirements  for  sustained  proletarian  class  struggle." 

The  hallmark  of  Utopian  socialism  is  the  belief  that 
socialist  consciousness  is  based  on  a  generalized  moral  sense, 
unrelated  to  existing  social  relations.  Utopian  socialism 
counterposes  itself  to  Marxism  by  its  denial  that  the 
organized  working  class,  driven  by  material  exploitation 
under  capitalism,  is  uniquely  the  leading  force  in  the  socialist 
revolution.  On  one  plane,  Utopian  socialism  is  a  reflection  of 
the  moral  and  intellectual  snobbery  of  the  petty  bourgeoisie. 
Insofar  as  Utopian  socialism  concerns  itself  with  attempting  a 
class  analysis  of  the  revolution,  it  usually  locates  the  leading 
force  in  the  educated  middle  class,  particularly  the  intelli- 
gentsia, which  is  presumed  to  be  genuinely  concerned  about 
ideas,  unlike  the  working  class  which  presumably  will  sell  oiit 
socialist  principles  for  a  mess  of  porridge. 

Working-Qass  Progressivism 
Existing  working-class  social  attitudes  certainly  fall  far 
short  of  socialist  consciousness.  However,  it  is  equally  certain 
that  of  the  major  classes  in  society,  the  working  class  is 
everywhere  the  most  socially  progressive.  It  is  the  working- 
class  parties,  even  despite  their  treacherous  bourgeoisified 
reformist  leaderships,  that  stand  for  more  enlightened  social 
policies.  In  Catholic  Europe  and  in  Islam,  it  is  the  working- 
class  parties  that  carry  the  main  burden  of  the  struggle 
against  religious  obscurantism.  The  distinctly  non-economist 
issue  of  divorce  was  an  important  factor  in  breaking  the 
alliance  between  the  Italian  social  democrats  and  the 
dominant  bourgeois  party,  and  has  stood  as  a  major  obstacle 
to  the  projected  bloc  between  the  Italian  CP  and  left 
Christian  Democrats.  In  England  the  anti-capital-punishment 
forces  were  overwhebtiingly  concentrated  in  the  Labour,  nof 
in  the  Conservative  or  Liberal,  Party. 

It  is  true  that  the  relatively  progressive  social  policies  of 
most  workers'  parties  do  not  accurately  reflect  the  mo^t 
backward  elements  in  the  class.  (Aspiring  social  democrats 
use  this  as  a  justification  for  accommodating  to  the  labor 
bureaucracy,  insisting  that  it  is  to  the  "left"  of  the  "average" 
worker.)  All  this  shows  is  that  working-class  organizations 
represent  a  higher  form  of  political  consciousness  than 
workers  taken  as  atomized  individuals  in  the  manner  of 
pubhc  opinion  polls.  This  is  because  the  activists  and 
organizers  of  workers'  organizations  represent  a  certain 
selection,  generally  of  the  most  conscious  workers  who  have 
already  broken  from  personal  "economism"  and  see  them- 
selves as  representatives  of  broader  class  interests.  Working- 
class  organizations  are  shaped  by  the  attitudes  of  what  Lenin 
called  "the  advanced  workers."  Ideologically  conservative 
workers  are  almost  always  politically  passive,  forced  by  social 
pressure  'against  being  activists  in  the  right-wing  bourgeois 
parties. 

Marxists'  have  always  been  profoundly  aware  of  and 
concerned  with  working-class  conservatism.  Genuine  Marx- 
ism, in  contrast  to  Utopian  moralism,  locates  and  fights  this 
conservatism  in  the  actual  living  conditions  of  workers.  As 
early  as  the  Communist  Manifesto,  the  demands  for  a 
shdrtened  work  week  to  give  workers  the  leisure  necessary 
for  political  and  cultural  activity,  for  the  emancipation  of 


women,  and  for  free  universal  higher  education,  for  example, 
have  been  an  important  aspect  of  revolutionary  sociaUst 
policy.  The  Utopian  moralists  have  no  program  to  counter 
working-class  backwardness,  simply  emitting  cries  of  horror 
coupled  with  occasional  predictions  that  the  working  class 
will  be  the  vanguard  of  fascism. 

Trade  Unions  and  Revolution 

An  important  anarcho-Maoist  myth  is  that  trade  unions 
are  simply  bargaining  agents  for  particular  groups  of  workers 
and  are  inherently  apolitical.  While  this  may  have  been  true 
in  the  nineteenth  century,  when  labor  unions  were  weak, 
defensive  organizations,  it  is  certainly  not  true  now.  In  all 
advanced  capitalist  countries,  and  particularly  those  which 
have  mass  social-democratic  parties,  trade  unions  exercise 
considerable  influence  in  all  aspects  of  political  life.  Even  in 
the  U.S.  in  the  1960's-a  period  in  which  the  unions  were 
regarded  as  particularly  passive  and  bread-and-butter 
oriented-the  union  bureaucracy  was  intimately  involved  in 
the  major  social  issues.  Liberal  union  bureaucrats  like  Walter 
Reuther  helped  finance  the  Southern  civil  rights  movement 
of  the  early  1 960's  and  played  an  important  role  in  keeping 
it  within  the  limits  of  bourgeois  reformism.  Millions  of 
dollars  in  union  dues  are  spent  by  union  lobbyists  seeking  to 
pressure  Washington  politicians.  The  deeply  conservative 
AFL-CIO  central  leadership  under  George  Meany  is  one  of 
the  few  significant  social  bases  remaining  for  a  "hawk" 
policy  in  Vietnam.  The  problem  is  not  that  the  labor 
movement  is  apolitical,  but  that  it  is  tied  to  bourgeois 
politics.  The  role  of  revolutionaries  in  the  unions  is  not  "to 
divert  the  economic  struggle  to  a  poHtical  struggle,"  but  to 
overthrow  the  conservative,  reformist  bureaucracy  and  pur- 
sue a  revolutionary  policy  on  both  the  industrial  and  the 
(political  level. 

To  assert  that  trade  unions  are  inherently  parochial  and 
economist  organizations  is  undialectical.  All  genuine  class 
organizations  (e.g.  unions,  parties,  factory  committees)  re- 
flect the  class  struggle.  To  say  that  unions  as  such  (i.e., 
simply  as  bargaining  agencies  for  particular  groups  of 
workers)  cannot  be  revolutionary  is  a  tautology.  But  unions 
can  give  birth  to  other  forms  of  organization  (e.g.  parties, 
general  strike  committees,  workers'  councils)  and  can  them- 
selves provide  the  structure  for  a  workers'  insurrection, 
ceasing  then  to  function  simply  as  "unions."  As  Trotsky, 
who  certainly  knew  something  about  the  organization  of 
revolutions,  said:  "in  spite  of  the  enormous  advantages  of 
Soviets  as  organs  of  struggle  for  power,  there  may  well  be 
cases  where  the  insurrection  unfolds  on  the  basis  of  other 
forms  of  organization  (factory  committees,  trade  unions, 
etc.)." 

The  radicalization  of  the  masses  must  take  place  through 
struggle  within  the  mass  organizations  of  the  class,  regardless 
of  form.  It  is  not  possible  for  revolutionary  consciousness  to 
develop  among  the  mass  of  workers  without  lengthy  and 
intense  struggles  and  the  intervention  of  communists  in  such 
fundamental  mass  organizations  as  the  unions.  To  term  this 
perspective  "economism,"  as  do  the  New  Leftists,  is  to 
transform  "Leninism"  into  a  justification  for  petty -bourgeois 
Utopian-moralistic  anti-Marxism.  ■ 

[This  article  is  adapted  from  a  leaflet  produced  by  the 
Spartacist  League  of  New  Zealand.] 


24 


SPARTACIST 


FALL  1972 


The  Faces  of  Economism 


Revisionism  is  an  attempt  to  attack  tlie  substance  of 
Marxism-Leninism  without  openly  coming  into  conflict  with 
its  great  authority.  Therefore  revisionism  often  takes  the 
form  of  maintaining  lip-service  to  traditional  Marxist  ter- 
minology but  re-defining  (usually  broadening)  certain  key 
concepts  in  order  to  smuggle  in  a  different  political  line.  For 
example  the  term  "self-determination,"  which  for  Lenin 
simply  meant  the  ability  of  a  nation  to  establish  a  separate 
state,  has  been  transformed,  most  notably  by  the  Socialist 
Workers  Party,  into  the  thoroughly  Utopian  reformist  con- 
cept of  freedom  from  all  oppression  (class  exploitation, 
national  and  racial  oppression,  sexual  oppression,  etc.) 
through  separation  or  even  "community  control"  within  U.S. 
capitalism. 

While  the  term  "economism"  has  not  undergone  so 
grotesque  a  change,  it  also  has  been  broadened  well  beyond 
its  Marxist  meaning.  For  Lenin,  the  "economists"  were  a 
distinct  tendency  in  the  Russian  socialist  movement  which 
held  that  socialists  should  concentrate  on  improving  the 
conditions  of  working-class  life  and  leave  the  fight  against 
Czarist  absolutism  to  the  liberals.  After  One  Step  Forward, 
Two  Steps  Back,  Lenin  rarely  used  the  term  and  referred  to 
similar  attitudes  as  reformism  or  narrow  trade  union  con- 
sciousness. Nevertheless  the  term  "economism,"  which  has 
become  an  important  part  of  the  contemporary  radical 
vocabulary,  need  not  be  restricted  to  a  purely  historical 
category.  However  it  is  essential  that  it  not  be  given  a 

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meaning  fundamentally  subversive  to  Leninism,  i.e.  that 
Lenin's  authority  not  be  put  behind  ideas  alien  to  Marxism. 

Anti-"Economism"  as  Anti-Materialist  Spiritualism 

Attacks  on  "economism"  are  a  frequent  rallying  cry  of 
petty-bourgeois  radicals  whose  response  to  labor  reformism 
and  working-class  backwardness  is  to  reject  the  working  class 
as  the  driving  force- of  the  revolution.  The  current  popularity 
of  the  term  probably  stems  from  its  widespread  use  in  the 
Chinese  "Cultural  Revolution,"  where  "economism"  was 
identified  with  a  desire  for  a  higher  standard  of  living. 
"Economist  consciousness"  was  the  sin  of  workers  who 
resisted  the  "Cultural  Revolution"-that  is,  who  were  unwill- 
ing to  make  the  material  sacrifices  demanded  of  them  by  the 
Maoist  faction.  The  political  thrust  of  the  "anti-economism" 
campaign  was  evident  during  the  1967  nationwide  railway 
strike,  when  Red  Guards  demanded  that  railway  workers 
accept  a  1 2%  pay  cut  and  disregard  standard  safety  regula- 
tions. This  would  have  concentrated  greater  economic 
surplus  in  the  hands  of  the  Maoist  bureaucracy,  but  would 
not  have  significantly  benefited  the  Chinese  masses. 

It  is  precisely  the  anti-materialist  spiritual  aspects  of 
Maoism— its  rejection  of  the  "consumer  society"  and  Khrush- 
chev's "goulash  communism"-that  provides  the  link 
between  the  early  New  Left  of  Herbert  Marcuse  and  the  later 
popularity  of  Third  World  anarcho-Maoism.  The  likes  of 
Robin  Blackburn  of  the  British  New  Left  Review  and  Rudi 
Deutschke  of  the  German  SDS  can  be  considered  transitional 
figures. 

Anarcho-Maoist  attacks  on  working-class  "economism" 
are  similar  to  Victorian  conservative  attacks  on  "the  intense 
selfishness  of  the  lower  classes"  (the  phrase  is  from  Kipling, 
poet  laureate  of  British  imperialism).  These  attitudes  are 
generally  voiced  by  genuine  reactionaries.  Marshal  Petain 
blamed  the  fall  of  France  on  the  "love  of  pleasure  of  the 
French  common  people."  As  George  Orwell  once  remarked, 
this  statement  is  seen  in  its  proper  perspective  if  we  compare 
the  amount  of  pleasure  in  the  life  of  the  average  French 
worker  or  peasant  with  Petain 's  own! 

The  anti-Marxist  perversion  of  the  term  "economism"  by 
the  Maoists  and  their  New  Left  sycophants  reflects  fear  of 
and  contempt  for  the  working  masses  on  the  part  of 
petty-bourgeois  strata.  In  the  case  of  the  Chinese  bureaucra- 
cy, it  is  a  real  fear  that  the  aspirations  and  organization  of 
the  Chinese  working  class  threaten  its  privileged  position.  In 
the  case  of  the  Western  radical  intelligentsia,  it  is  a  belief  that 
the  social  backwardness  and  cultural  narrowness  of  the 
working  masses  threaten  its  life  styles-both  bourgeois  and 
"liberated"— and  values. 

What  Is  Economism? 

In  the  most  general  sense,  economism  is  the  failure  of  ih^ 
working  class  to  embrace  its  historic  role,  pr  in  Marx'S' words, 
failure  to  realize  that  the  proletariat  cannot  liberate  itself 
without  "destroying  all  the  inhuman  conditions  of  life  in 
contemporary  society."  (The  Holy  Family)  In  other  words, 
(Continued  on  page  22) 


SPARTAOST 


NUMBER  22 


WINTER  1973-74 


35  CENTS 


The  Struggle  for 
Trotskyism  in  Ceylon 

by  Edmund  Samarakkody 


The  Editorial  Board  of  Spartacist  is  proud 
to  bring  to  our  readers  an  important 
article  making  accessible  to  Trotskyists  in 
the  U.S.  and  internationally  an  analysis  of  the 
history  and  degeneration  of  the  Trotskyist 
movement  in  Ceylon.  This  understanding  is 
crucial  for  the  rebirth  of  Trotskyism  in  Cey- 
lon. The  Ceylon  experience  has  profound  les- 
sons for  our  movement,  especially  in  the  un- 
derdeveloped countries,  in  the  struggle  to 
build  sections  of  an  authentic  Fourth  Interna- 
tional rooted  in  the  working  class. 

The  author,  Edmund  Samarakkody,  is 
uniquely  qualified  to  comment  on  this  experi- 
ence. A  veteran  Trotskyist  militant  and  cur- 
rently spokesman  for  the  Revolutionary  Work- 
ers Party  of  Ceylon,  Comrade  Samarakkody 
was  a  founding  leader  of  the  Ceylon  section 
of  the  Fourth  International.  His  early  experi- 
ence dates  back  to  trade-union  organizing  for 
the  Lanka  Sama  Samaja  Party  (LSSP)  in  the 
years  before  World  War  II.  During  the  war, 
Comrade  Samarakkody,  along  with  other  cen- 
tral leaders  of  the  LSSP,  was  interned  by  the 
British  and,  following  his  escape,  was  in- 
volved in  coordinating  the  activities  of  the  il- 
legalized  LSSP.  He  then  joined  other  leaders 
of  the  LSSP  in  temporary  emigration  to  India— 
a  crucial  internationalizing  experience  for  the 
Ceylonese  Trotskyists— until  the  endof  the  war. 

Comrade  Samarakkody's  oppositional  his- 
tory began  in  1957,  when  he  and  other  left 
militants  in  the  LSSP  resisted  the  LSSP's 
accommodation  to  the  bourgeois  nationalist 
Sri  Lanka  Freedom  Party  (SLFP).  Particularly 
crucial  in  understanding  the  degeneration  of 
the  international  Trotskyist  movement  is  the 
(continued  next  page) 


Edmund  Samarakkody 


USec  Covers  Up  Tampoe 
Scandal ...  25 

Letter  to  the  OCRFI  and 
the  OCI...32 


. . .  Ceylon 

light  cast  by  Comrade  Samarakkody's  article 
on  the  wretched  role  of  the  Pabloist  Interna- 
tional Secretariat  (now  United  Secretariat)  in 
acquiescing  to  the  LSSP's  accommodationist 
policy  toward  the  SLFP  until  the  U.Sec.  revi- 
sionists were  at  last  forced  to  disavow  the 
LSSP  when  the  LSSP  entered  the  SLFP-led 
popular-front  government  of  Mrs.  Bandara- 
naike  in  1964,  As  the  article  demonstrates,  both 
the  Pabloists  of  the  U.Sec.  and  the  Healyites 
(International  Committee)  must  seek  to  ignore 
the  real  history  of  the  LSSP  before  1964  in 
order  to  conceal  their  own  complicity,  dictated 
by  their  pervasive  opportunism. 

After  the  1964  debacle,  the  U.Sec.  re- 
visionists denounced  the  LSSP's  entry  into  the 
government  and  backed  the  LSSP  (Revolution- 
ary), led  by  the  trade-union  bureaucrat  Bala 
Tampoe,  which  split  in  opposition  to  the  entry 
into  the  government.  Within  the  LSSP(R)  Com- 
rade Samarakkody  led  a  left  opposition  against 
the  Tampoe  leadership.  After  two  years  of 
struggle.  Comrade  Samarakkody  and  his  sup- 
porters left  the  LSSP(R)  following  a  Special 
Conference  (18-19  April  1968)  and  constituted 
the  Revolutionary  Samasamaja  Party  (now 
Revolutionary  Workers  Party)  of  Ceylon. 

As  part  of  his  continuing  political  battle 
against  the  revisionists,  Comrade  Samarak- 
kody was  instrumental  in  bringing  to  the  atten- 


1  The  fake-Trotskylst  "United  Secretariat"  was 
formed  in  1963  as  a  result  of  the  reunifi- 
cation of  the  Socialist  Workers  Party  (U.S.) 
led  by  Farrell  Dobbs  with  the  "International 
Secretariat"  (I.S.)  of  Michel  Pablo,  Ernest 
Mandel,  Pierre  Frank  and  Livio  Maitan.  The 
SWP  had  broken  with  the  I.S.  in  1953  in  pro- 
test against  Pablo's  liquidation  of  the  sections 
of  the  Fourth  International  into  the  dominant 
Stalinist  and  social -democratic  parties.  The 
"reunification"  amounted  to  a  non-agression 
pact,  sweeping  under  the  rug  issues  which  had 
divided  ostensibly  Trotskyist  forces  for  a 
decade,  and  codified  the  SWP's  capitulation  to 
Pabloism  by  calling  for  support  to  bourgeois 
nationalists  and  peasant  guerrillaists  in  the 
backward  countries. 

2  The  Lanka  Sama  Samaja  Party  (LSSP-Cey- 
lon  Socialist  Party)  was  founded  in  1935  by  a 
group  of  young,  British-trained  intellectuals. 
During  its  early  years  the  LSSP  was  a  loose 
mass  organization  committed  to  socialism  but 


tion  of  the  world  Trotskyist  movement  the 
fundamentally  corrupt  role  of  Bala  Tampoe, 
through  forcing  a  special  Commission  on 
Ceylon  at  the  "Ninth  World  Congress"  of  the 
U.Sec.  in  April  1969.  Following  the  U.Sec. 's 
suppression  of  the  accusations  against  Tampoe 
and  the  findings  of  the  U.Sec. 's  own  Commis- 
sion, Comrade  Samarakkody  transmitted  to  us 
the  actual  reports  of  this  Commission,  which 
we  published  in  Spartacist  #21  (Fall  1972). 

■^The  Editors 


During  a  period  of  two  decades  up^to  1964, 
it  was  the  claim  of  the  leaders  of  the 
"United  Secretariat  of  the  Fourth  Internation- 
al"! that  the  LSSP 2  was  the  strongest 
Trotskyist  mass  party  within  the  "world  or- 
ganisation." Undoubtedly,  the  LSSP  was  the 
working-class-based  party  with  the  widest 
mass  base.  It  was  in  the  leadership  of  a 
considerable  sector  of  the  trade-union  move-, 
ment  and  had  strong  support  among  sec- 
tions of  the  peasantry  and  of  the  urban 
petty  bourgeoisie.  It  had  a  reputation  for  in- 
transigence in  its  opposition  to  capitalism- 
imperialism  and  for  its  incorruptible  and 
militant  leadership  of  the  working  class  and 
toilers,  and  as  a  champion  of  the  rights  of  the 
Tamil- speakii^  minority. 3  In  the  words  of 
Ernest  Mandel,  a  leader  of  the  United  Secre- 
tariat, "Colvin  R.  de  Silva  and  Leslie  Guna- 
wardena  were  brilliant  Marxist  thinkers  who 
have  written  some  of  the  best  revolutionary 


with  a  basically  reformist  program.  The  Sta- 
linist wing  led  by  Pieter  Keuneman  was  ex- 
pelled in  1940  in  the  wake  of  the  Hitler-Stalin 
pact  and  the  Stalinists'  flipflops  in  their 
attitudes  toward  the  Second  World  vVar.  The 
LSSP  opposed  the  war,  causing  the  British  to 
jail  its  leaders. 

3  A  minority  of  southern  Indian  descent.  One 
section  of  the  Tamils  has  been  on  the  island 
from  early,  pre-colonial,  times.  The  great  ma- 
jority, who  make  up  the  bulk  of  Ceylonese  plan- 
tation workers,  were  originally  imported  by  the 
British  in  the  middle  and  late  19th  century  to 
work  on  coffee  and  later  tea  estates.  Tamils 
make  up  roughly  10  percent  of  Ceylon's  popu- 
lation. However,  in  1949  several  hundred  thou- 
sand Tamil  plantation  workers  (who  had  had  the 
right  to  vote  since  1931)  were  disenfranchised. 
Since  then  discriminatory  citizenship  require- 
ments have  made  the  great  majority  of  Tamils 
officially  stateless,  without  legal  rights  in 
either  Ceylon  or  India. 


Note:  All  footnotes  and  bracketed  material,  except  that  Initialed  "E.S.,"  are  by  the  Spartacist  editors. 


WINTER  1973-74 


3 


pamphlets  in  South  East  Asia. . . .  They  un- 
doubtedly assimilated  the  whole  body  of  the 
basic  Trotskyist  concepts."-* 

However,  it  was  the  same  party,  the  LSSP, 
with  its  reputation  for  revolutionary  intran- 
sigence, and  with  its  "brilliant  Marxist 
thinkers,"  that  ignominiously  collapsed  in  June 
1964,  when,  by  a  majority  decision,  it  entered 
a  coalition  government  with  the  SLFP,^  the  par- 
ty of  the  so-called  national  or  liberal  bour- 
geoisie, just  whenthebankruptcy  of  the  policies 
of  the  Sirima  Bandaranaike  government  was 
becoming  manifest  to  the  working  class  and 
toilers  and  when  conditions  were  ripening  for 
the  development  of  mass~  struggle  against  the 
government  and  the  capitalist  class. 

Not  only  did  this  reputed  Trotskyist  party 
join  the  ranks  of  the  opportunists  by  this  alli- 
ance with  the  bourgeoisie  for  the  betrayal  of 
the  masses,  but  in  1971,  it  became  directly 
responsible  for  the  worst  massacre  of  youth 
ever  known  inCeylonor  elsewhere— the  police- 
army  killings  by  shooting  and  torture  of  thou- 
sands of  youth  who  rose  in  revolt  against  the 
capitalist  coalition  government.  And,  it  is  this 
party  that  today,  together  with  the  Stalinists, 
is  sustaining  a  capitalist  regime  which  is  pre- 
paring the  road,  in  the  manner  of  the  Allendes, 
for  an  open  military  dictatorship. 

But  why  did  this  happen?  How  did  this  "Trot- 
skyist" party  collapse  and  join  the  ranks  of 
Stalinist  and  social-democratic  betrayers? 

We  shall  let  the  same  Ernest  Mandel  of  the 
United  Secretariat  answer  this  question.  Here 
is  his  explanation  in  his  article  published  in 
the  International  Socialist  Review  in  the  fall  of 
1964.  "It  was  never  a  secret  to  any  member 
of  the  world  Trotskyist  movement,  informed 
about  the  special  problems  of  the  Fourth  Inter- 
national, that  the  section  in  Ceylon,  the  Lanka 
Sama  Samaja  Party,  was  an  organisation  to 
which  the  term  'Trotskyist'  had  to  be  applied 
with  a  series  of  specific  reservations...." 
Mandel,  it  would  appear,  had  never  any  doubts 
about  the  character  of  the  LSSP,  According  to 
him  "the  group  of  Trotskyist  intellectuals  sud- 
denly found  themselves  at  the  head  of  the  largest 
working-class  organisation  in  the  country. . , . 


However,  the  party  which  they  led  could  not 
really  be  called  'Bolshevik'." 

Mandel 's  dilemma  in  characterisation  of 
this  party  is  understandable.  For  over  two 
decades,  the  LSSP  was  the  Ceylon  unit  of  the 
International  Secretariat  (I.S.)  and  later  United 
Secretariat  (U.Sec),  which  claimed  to  be  the 
continuation  of  the  organisation  founded  by 
Trotsky,  Mandel  and  the  leaders  of  the  United 
Secretariat  were  called  upon  to  explain  how 
such  a  party  as  the  LSSP  could  have  remained 
a  unit  of  an  international  organisation  claiming 
to  be  Trotskyist:  It  was  this  question  that  Man- 
del  has  failed  to  answer.  And  his  failure  to  face 
up  to  this  question  could  well  be  the  reason  why 
he  resorted  to  equivocation  in  regard  to  the 
character  of  this  party. 

In  the  view  of  Mandel,  the  LSSP  had  a  hybrid 
character,  "It  was  a  party  that  combined  left- 
socialist  trade-union  cajdres,  revolutionary 
workers  who  had  gained  class  consciousness 
but  not  specifically  revolutionary -Marxist  ed- 
ucation, and  a  few  hundred  genuine  revolu- 
tionary-Marxist cadres. . . . 

"In  fact,  while  being  formally  a  Trotskyist 
party,  the  LSSP  functioned  in  several  areas 
comparably  to  a  left  Social  Democratic  party  in 
a  relatively  'prosperous'  semi-colonial  coun- 
try; i.e.  it  was  the  main  electoral  vehicle  of 
the  poor  masses,  it  provided  the  main  leader- 
ship of  the  trade  unions." 

If  indeed  "the  LSSP  functioned  in  several 
areas  comparably  to  a  left  Social  Democratic 
party,"  and  if  indeed  it  was  functioning  as 
"the  main  electoral  vehicle  of  the  poor 
masses,"  it  was  by  no  means  difficult  to  under- 
stand how  the  leaders  of  this  party  accepted 
portfolios  in  a  bourgeois  government  in  1964 
and  have  continued  along  this  road  thereafter. 

But  if,  as  Mandel  insists,  this  was  a  "de- 
feat for  Trotskyism  in  Ceylon"  it  is  necessary 
to  ascertain  what  precisely  in  his  view  led 
to  this  defeat,  "The  defeat  suffered  by  Trot- 
skyism in  Ceylon,"  says  Mandel,  "is therefore 
essentially  the  story  of  how  and  why  the  Colvin 
R.  de  Silva  and  Leslie  Gunawardena  group 
["Marxist"— E.S.]  lost  leadership  of  the  party 
(continued  next  page) 


4  Ernest  Germain,  "Peoples  Frontism  in  Cey- 
lon: From  Wavering  to  Capitulation,"  Interna- 
tional Socialist  Review,  Fall  1964. 

5  The  Sri  Lanka  Freedom  Party  (SLFP)  origi- 
nated in  1951  when  S.SV.R.D.  Bandaranaike 
split  from  the  until-then  dominant  United  Na- 
tional Party  (UNP)  amid  widespread  uneasiness 


in  the  ruling  class  over  the  rampant  corruption 
of  the  UNP  government.  Bandaranaike,  former 
right-hand  man  of  UNP  leader  D.S.  Senanayake, 
combined  a  program  of  virulent  Sinhalese 
chauvinism  and  Buddhist  clericalism  with  timid 
land  reform.  His  SLFP  appealed  particu- 
larly to  the  Sinhalese  peasantry  and  rural 
intelligentsia. 


. . .  Ceylon 

through  their  own  weaknesses  and  inner 
contradictions...." 

Mandel  mentions  these  "weaknesses  and 
inner  contradictions"— the  fatal  flaw  was  that 
these  key  political  leaders  did  not  occupy 
themselves  with  full  time  party  work— they 
remained  part-time  leaders ...  the  leaders  of 
the  genuinely  Trotskyist  wing  of  the  LSSP 
did  not  change  their  daily  lives  to  accord  with 
their  revolutionary  conAactions.f  s 

While  the  "weaknesses  and  inner  contra- 
dictions of  the  leaders"  were  real,  it  is 
necessary  for  revolutionary  Marxists  to  go 
beyond  the  personal  qualities  of  the  leaders  of 
an  ostensibly  revolutionary  party  to  ascertain 
why  such  a  party  betrayed  the  revolutionary 
movement  and  the  masses.  Mandel  is  com- 
pletely wrong  in  stating  that  the  weaknesses  of 
the  leaders  were  "essentially"  the  cause  of 
the  LSSP  collapse.  This  is  plain  subjectivism. 

Mandel's  dilemma  remains.  He  and  the  other 
leaders  of  the  United  Secretariat  were  not 
prepared  to  accept  their  share  of  responsi- 
bility for  the  collapse  of  the  LSSP,  which  for 
two  decades  was  accepted  as  a  section  of 
the  International  Secretariat,  later  United 
Secretariat. 

The  formal  acceptance  of  the  program  can 
never  be  the  test  of  a  revolutionary  Marxist 
party.  That  is  of  course  a  commonplace.  On 
the  other  hand,  what  is  basic  to  the  Leninist 
concept  of  the  party  is  the  basing  of  the  politics 
of  the  party  on  the  revolutionary  program  and 
above  all  on  activity  in  a  revolutionary 
perspective. 

And,  in  regard  to  the  LSSP,  there  was  not 
even  a  formal  acceptance  of  a  Trotskyist  pro- 
gram, because  in  reality  there  was  no  program 
as  such.  What  was  termed  the  program,  as  late 
as  1950  (unity  congress)  was  only  a  listing  of 
"fundamental  aims,"  a  brief  explanation  of  a 
transitional  program,  a  list  of  transitional  de- 
mands and  the  positions  of  the  party  on  impe- 


6  Germain,  op.  cit. 

The  Bolshevik  Samasamaja  Party  grew  out  of 
a  1942  factional  polarization  and  split  in  the 
LSSP,  which  resulted  in  two  groups  both  call- 
ing themselves  "the  LSSP"  operating  in  Cey- 
lon during  the  later  years  of  the  war.  The 
more  leftist  group  remained  affiliated  with 
the  BLP(India)  and  after  the  war  a  BLPI 
letter  of  8  October  1945  expelling  the  leaders 


rialist  war,  defense  of  the  Soviet  Union,  on 
Stalinist  parties  and  popular-frontism. 

A  Marxist  analysis  of  the  socio-economic 
factors  in  the  country,  class  forces  and  class 
relations,  the  character  of  the  Ceylon  revolu- 
tion and  the  dynamics  of  the  Ceylon  revolution 
—all  these  issues  had  no  place  in  this  "pro- 
gram"! Documents  on  programmatic  questions 
were  never  the  heritage  of  the  party.  Nor  could 
the  leaders  of  the  United  Secretariat,  the 
Mandels  and  Pierre  Franks,  point  to  any  inter- 
vention on  their  part  with  the  LSSP  in  this 
regard. 

1942  Split 

The  existence,  from  the  beginning,  of  a 
Marxist  wing  in  this  social-democratic  type 
party  was  the  real  hope  for  this  party.  And 
indeed,  the  leaders  of  the  [International] 
correctly  looked  to  this  group  for  the  revolu- 
tionary orientation  of  this  party. 

And  the  opportunity  came  to  this  group  and 
also  to  the  leaders  of  the  [International], 
when  the  first  split  took  place  in  the  LSSP  be- 
tween the  Philip  Gunawardena/N.M.  Perera 
reformist  section  and  the  Leslie  [Guna- 
wardena]/Colvin  [R.  de  Silva]/Bernard  [Soysa] 
Marxist  section  in  1942. 

It  was  the  attempt  on  the  part  of  the  Marxist 
wing  to  re-organise  the  party  programmati- 
cally  and  organisationally  on  Bolshevik  lines 
that  led  to  opposition  from  the  Philip  Gunawar- 
dena/N.M. Perera  reformist  wing  and  to  the 
split  of  1942.  The  expulsion  of  Philip  Gunawar- 
dena  and  N.M.  Perera  from  the  International 
and  the  acceptanceof  the  Bolshevik  Samasama- 
ja Party  (BSP)''as  the  Ceylon  unit  created 
favourable  conditions  for  the  building  of  the 
revolutionary  party. 

Although  at  the  commencement  the  politics 
of  the  split  were  not  altogether  clear  to  the 
rank  and  file  of  the  BSP,  the  further  evolution 
of  the  N.M./Phtlip  group  brought  into  the  open 
the  different  orientations.  For  instance,  the 
N.M./Philip  group  gave  proof  of  its  deep- 
seated  opportunism  when  the  parliamentary 
fraction  of  their  party  refused  to  vote  against 
the  status  of  "independence"  granted  by  the 


of  the  rightist  group  (N.M.  Perera  and  Philip 
Gunawardena)  formalized  the  split.  Following 
an  abortive  attempt  in  late  1946  to  reunify  the 
two  groups,  the  leftist  group  led  by  Leslie 
Goonewardene,  Colin  de  Silva,  Samarakkody, 
de  Souza  and  others,  which  was  the  smaller 
group,  changed  its  name  to  the  BSP.  However, 
on  4  June  1950  the  two  groups  were  reunified 
to  form  the  LSSP,  with  a  grouping  around  Phi- 
lip Gunawardena  splitting  away  to  the  right. 


WINTER  1973-74 


1 


British  in  1947.  The  BSP  fraction  however 
voted  against  this  fake  independence,  s 

On  the  other  hand,  during  the  seven  years  of 
its  independent  existence,  the  BSP  took  mean- 
ingful steps  to  raise  the  ideological  level  of 
the  party,  develop  revolutionary  cadre  and 
direct  trade=union  and  other  mass  activities 
in  a  revolutionary  perspective. 

Unification 

However,  this  favourable  development  for 
Trotskyism  in  Ceylon  received  a  setback  when 
the  BSP  decided  onunification  with  the  reform- 
ist N.M.  Perera/Philip  Gunawardena  group 
(LSSP),  which  had,  during  this  ,  period,  only 
strengthened  its  reformism,  both  in  its  trade- 
union  and  parliamentary  activities. 

And  what  is  more,  the  unification  was 
effected  without  any  discussion  on  the  funda- 
mental problems  of  the  Ceylon  revolution, 
strategy  and  tactics,  on  Stalinism,  reformism 
and  parliamentarism.  It  was  the  failure  of  the 
Marxist  wing  (BSP)  that  no  document  giving 
the  correct  orientation  on  these  relevant  issues 
was  adopted  at  this  unification.  Only  the  "pro- 
gram" which  we  have  already  referred  to  was 
adopted.  This  "program"  was  so  sketchy  and 
only  in  outline,  that  the  N.M.  Perera  wing  had  no 
difficulty  in  taking  the  party  along  their  reform- 
ist course. 

This  unification,  which  proved  disastrous 
for  the  future  of  Trotskyism  in  Ceylon,  never- 
theless received  the  approval  of  the  leaders 
of  the  United  Secretariat  (then  the  International 
Secretariat).  And  what  is  more,  it  was  their 
view  that  a  policy  of  co-existence  with  the  N. 
M.  Perera  reformist  wing  was  correct  for  the 
Marxist  group.  In  the  view  of  Mandel,  "the 
problem  of  overcoming  the  old  divisions  and  of 
blocking  anything  that  could  precipitate  a  new 
split  with  N.M.  Perera  became  an  obsession 
among  the  key  political  leaders.^  The  policy 
was  correct  in  itself  since  unification  had  taken 
place  on  a  principled  basis  and  since  the  party's 
activities  as  a  whole  were  proceeding  in 
accordance  with  the  general  program  of  Trot- 
skyism."^ [our  emphasis— E.S.] 


General  Program  of  Trotskyism 

The  program  of  Trotskyism  in  Ceylon  had 
to  be  linked  to  the  problems  of  the  Ceylon 
revolution. 

As  in  all  backward  countries,  Ceylon  had 
(1950)  and  still  continues  to  have  uncompleted 
tasks  of  the  democratic  revolution.  The  "Soul- 
bury  Constitution,"  which  was  a  deal  between 
the  Ceylonese  bourgeoisie  and  the  British 
imperialists,  brought  only  fake  independence. 
While  there  was  political  independence  over  a 
large  area,  yet  there  was  room  for  imperialist 
interference  and  control,  even  politically.  In 
any  event,  the  economic  dominance  of  British 
imperialism  continued  through  the  ownership 
and  control  by  the  British  of  the  best  tea  and 
rubber  plantations  and  the  agency  houses, 
which  controlled  the  exports  of  all  agricultural 
products  and  which  also  had  a  major  share  of 
the  imports  for  the  plantation  sector.  The  oper- 
ation of  British  and  other  foreign-owned  banks, 
and  the  open-door  policy  for  British  and  other 
imperialist  investments  reducedpolitical  free- 
dom to  a  fiction. 

Twenty -five  years  after  the  grant  of  so- 
called  Independence  and  the  adoption  of  a  new 
constitution  with  republican  status  (1971),  the 
socio-economic  policies  of  Ceylon,  over  a 
large  area,  cannot  be  decided  by  a  Ceylon 
Cabinet,  but  by  the  IMF  (International  Mone- 
tary Fund)  and  the  imperialists! 

The  revolutionary  wing  (BSP)  which  cor- 
rectly denounced  and  rejected  the  Soulbury 
Constitution  as  "fake  independence"  while  the 
N.M.  Perera  wing  silently  endorsed  the  bour- 
geois interpretations  in  that  regard,  failed  to 
raise  this  question  of  the  Soulbury  Constitu- 
tion with  the  N.M.  Perera  wing  at  the  1950 
unification.  Thus  by  implication  the  BSP  en- 
dorsed the  opportunism  of  the  N.M,  Perera 
wing. 

This  meant  that  the  unified  LSSP  adopted, 
by  implication,  a  view  that  the  bourgeoisie 
of  a  backward  country  in  the  middle  of  the 
20th  century  has  been  able  to  accomplish  a 
basic  task  of  the  bourgeois  democratic  revo- 

(continued  next  page) 


8  The  British  government  granted  Ceylon  a 
Constitution  recommended  by  the  Soulbury 
Commission  in  1946  in  order  to  placate  de- 
mands for  political  independence  following  the 
war.  This  constitution  retained  an  appointed 
Governor-General  who  retained  control  over 
foreign  affairs,  defense  and  minority  rights. 
The  constitution  did  not  even  provide  dominion 


status— "independence"  within  the  Common- 
wealth—which was  granted  separately  in  1948. 
Other  agreements  guaranteed  the  British  con- 
tinued use  of  military  bases  on  Ceylon  and 
other  privileges. 

9  Germain,  op.  cit. 


6 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Ceylon 

lution,  i.e.  the  achievement  of  national  liber- 
ation from  imperialism.  This  meant  that  the 
LSSP  was  in  conflict  with  the  central  thesis  of 
the  permanent  revolution,  that,  having  arrived 
belatedly,  a  congenitally  weak  bourgeoisie  in  a 
backward  country  is  incapable  of  playing  a 
leading  role  in  the  democratic  revolution; 
that  on  the  contrary,  this  bourgeoisie  is 
counter-revolutionary;  that  the  tasks  of  the 
bourgeois  democratic  revolution  could  be  ac- 
complished only  by  the  proletariat  (dictator- 
ship of  the  proletariat)  in  alliance  with  the 
peasantry  and  in  the  teeth  of  the  opposition 
of  the  native  bourgeoisie— whether  they  be  the 
compradors  or  the  so-called  national 
bourgeoisie. 

The  false  and  untenable  assumption  that  the 
bourgeois  democratic  tasks  had  been  acconl- 
plished  by  the  Ceylonese  bourgeoisie  led  the 
LSSP  to  virtually  ignore  thereafter— (a)  the 
struggle  for  completing  Ceylon's  independence; 
(b)  the  struggle  for  minority  rights  of  the  2 
million  Tamil-speaking  people;  (c)  the  struggle 
of  the  peasants  for  the  land;  and  (d)  the  ending 
of  the  oppression  and  discrimination  of  the 
so-called  depressed  castes. 

It  was  thus  that  the  LSSP  had  no  program 
to  develop  the  anti-imperialist  struggle  al- 
though the  party  was  opposed  to  imperialism. 
And  it  was  thus  that  the  LSSP  had  no  program 
to  develop  the  struggle  of  the  peasants  for 
land  although  the  LSSP  did  demand  land  for  the 
landless. 

Although  the  LSSP  supported  the  language 
and  other  rights  of  the  Tamil  minority  and 
called  for  the  acceptance  of  Tamil  as  an 
official  langviage  together  with  the  Sinhala 
language,  and  also  called  for  citizenship 
rights  for  the  Tamil  plantation  workers,  it 
did  not  have  a  strategy  for  implementing 
these  demands. 

It  was  thus  that  the  LSSP  failed  to  carry  on 
a  consistent  struggle  for  the  completion  of 
Ceylon's  independence,  for  the  abolition  of  the 


10  The  United  National  Party  (UNP)  was  es- 
tablished by  the  plutocrat  D.S.  Senanayake  in 
June  1946  and  took  over  the  government  from 
the  British  in  the  1947  election.  Senanayake  had 
split  from  the  Ceylon  National  Congress,  a 
loose  pro-independence,  exclusively  Sinhalese, 
bourgeois  formation  when  the  CNC  admitted 
the  Stalinists  during  World  War  U. 


Soulbury  Constitution.  The  party  failed  to  raise 
the  slogan  of  a  Constituent  Assembly. 

The  refusal  of  the  LSSP  to  face  the  reality 
of  the  uncompleted  democratic  tasks  gave  the 
Ceylon  bourgeoisie  an  unexpected  opportunity 
to  pose  as  the  friends  of  the  peasantry  and  to 
win  over  the  petty -bourgeois  masses  generally, 
by  putting  on  the  mask  of  nationalism  and  talk- 
ing the  language  of  freedom  fighters. 

Enter  Bandaranaike 

S.W.R.D.  Bandaranaike,  who  broke  with  the 
UNP  10  on  the  succession  to  D.S.  Senanayake, 
was  quick  to  take  the  opportunity.  Raising  the 
slogans  of  "Sinhalese  language  only"  as  the  of- 
ficial language  to  replace  English,  "Give  back 
the  military  bases,"  "Take  over  of  foreign- 
owned  estates,"  "End  feudal  relations  in  land," 
Bandaranaike  was  soon  leading  the  mass  move- 
ment, especially  the  peasants  and  lower  middle 
class  intelligentsia.  From  a  leader  of  a  small 
party  of  eight  members  in  parliament,  Ban- 
daranaike found  himself  swept  topowerinl956 
(MEP— the  1st  Bandaranaike  Government),  n 

Although  Bandaranaike  and  his  SLFP  soon 
showed  their  state  of  bankruptcy  in  regard  to 
(a)  the  anti-imperialist  struggle;  (b)  winning 
of  land  to  the  peasants;  and  (c)  the  grant  of 
minority  rights  and  so-called  economic  devel- 
opment, this  party  (SLFP)  of  the  so-called 
national  bourgeoisie  was  able  to  keep  itself 
at  the  centre  of  the  political  stage  during  a 
period  of  nearly  17  years  up  to  the  present  due 
to  the  wrong  policies  of  the  LSSP  in  regard  to 
the  so-called  national  or  liberal  bourgeoisie. 

The  Ceylonese  bourgeoisie  had,  right  up  to 
the  war  period,  remained  a  plantation  and  mer- 
cantile bourgeoisie.  Their  interests  more  or 
less  dove-tailed  with  imperialist  interests; 
they  functioned  in  the  perspective  of  continued 
co-existence  with  imperialism.  They  were 
the  classic  compradors. 

However,  it  was  inevitable  that  capitalist 
development  in  Ceylon  would,  even  late,  take 
the  road  of  industrialisation.  This  meant  that 
a  differentiation  within  the  bourgeoisie  would 
sooner  or  later  lead  to  the  emergence  of  the 
industrial-minded  bourgeoisie.  And  it  could 


iiThe  Mahajama  Eksath  Peramuna  (MEP— 
People's  United  Front)  was  formed  in  February 
1956  as  a  coalition  of  the  SLFP  with  various 
religious  and  Sinhalese  chauvinist  groups  and 
the  "LSSP"  of  Philip  Gunawardena.  When  the 
Bandaranaike  government  collapsed  in  1958- 
59,  the  Gunawardena  group  took  the  name 
MEP  for  themselves  in  subsequent  election 
campaigns. 


V 


WINTER  1973-74 


7 


have  been  expected  that  this  new  section  of 
the  bourgeoisie  would  be  in  a  state  of  conflict 
with  the  older  plantation  bourgeoisie  or  their 
party,  the  UNP,  which  had  control  of  state 
power. 

It  was  the  existence  of  this  new  sector  of 
the  bourgeoisie— the  industrial-minded  sec- 
tor—that found  its  reflection  in  the  split  away 
of  Bandaranaike  from  the  UNP  (1951).  Further, 
it  was  precisely  the  significance  of  this  differ- 
entiation within  the  bourgeoisie  that  the  LSSP, 
which  according  to  Mandel,  "functioned  in  ac- 
cordance with  the  general  program  of  Trot- 
skyism," failed  to  understand. 

"National"  or  "Liberal" 
Bourgeoisie 

The  character  and  the  role  of  the  so-called 
national  or  liberal  bourgeoisie  in  the  backward 
countries  was  too  well  known,  especially  in  the 
Trotskyist  movement,  by  the  time  this  differ- 
entiation took  place  in  Ceylon.  The  tragedy  of 
the  Chinese  revolution  (1927),  thp  triumph  of 
Franco  in  Spain  (1936-39),  and  the  failure  of 
the  revolutionary  movements  in  India  and  the 
other  countries  of  Asia  were  basically  linked 
to  the  failure  of  ostensible  revolutionaries  to 
understand  the  nature  of  the  so-called  national 
-bourgeoisie,  who  seek  to  use  the  masses,  not 
for  struggle  against  imperialism  but  to  win 
concessions  from  the  imperialist  masters. 

The  principal  lesson  derived  from  Marxist 
experience  in  this  regard  was  that  this  sector 
of  the  bourgeoisie,  while  being  capable  of  occa- 
sional but  weak  oppositional  actions  against 
imperialism,  cannot,  with  any  degree  of  con- 
sistency, develop  any  real .  confrontation  with 
imperialism.  In  the  context  of  the  reality  of  thfe 
class  struggle,  the  so-called  national  or  liberal 
bourgeoisie  must  necessarily  betray  the  strug- 
gle for  national  liberation  and  enter  into  treach- 
erous compromises  with  imperialism.  "The 
more  to  the  East,"  said  Trotsky,  "the  more 
treacherous  were  the  bourgeoisie."  That 
meant,  the  more  belatedly  they  arrive,  the  more 
treacherous  they  are. 

While  revolutionary  Marxists  would  give 
critical  support  to  some  oppositional  actions 
of  the  so-called  national  bourgeoisie,  they  are 
vinequi vocally  opposed  to  national  bourgeois 
regimes;  it  remains  their  task  to  carry  on  a 
consistent  and  irreconcilable  struggle  to  ex- 
pose their  real  role  of  treachery  to  the  national 
liberation  struggle  and  to  wrest  the  leadership 
of  the  national  struggle  from  their  hands. 

The  regimes  of  the  so-called  national  or  lib- 
eral bourgeoisie  in  Ceylon  (SLFP,  SLFP-LSSP, 


SLFP-LSSP-CP)  have  brought  about  a  belated 
but  limited  development  of  the  manufacturing 
industries,  not  in  conflict  with  imperialism, 
but  jointly  with  foreign  capitalists,  whether  in 
the  public  or  private  sector,  undermining  in 
this  process  the  political  independence  of  the 
ct)untry. 

It  is  precisely  this  question  of  the  so-called 
national  or  liberal  bourgeoisie— the  Bandara- 
naike question— that  LSSP  leaders  failed  to 
understand  in  the  light  of  Marxist  experience. 
In  the  result,  the  leadership  followed  empiri- 
cally a  zig  zag  policy,  which  inevitably  led 
them  into  the  coalition  government  with  the 
SLFP  in  1964. 

The  1953  Hartal— A  Semi- Insurrection 

It  was  in  this  state  of  ideological  confusion 
and  uncertainty  that  the  LSSP  was  confronted 
with  the  opportunity  of  leading  the  masses  in 
Ceylon's  first  revolutionary  mass  struggle 
against  the  government  and  the  capitalist  class 
reaching  to  the  level  of  a  semi-insurrection. 

With  the  end  of  the  Korean  boom  andthe  fall 
in  the  prices  of  the  main  exports,  tea  and 
rubber,  the  capitalist  UNP  government  decided 
to  maintain  the  profit  levels  of  the  capitalist 
and  vested  interests  by  imposing  drastic  cuts  on 
social  services  and  by  the  increase  in  price  of 
i^ationed  rice.  vVhile  the  price  of  rice  was  raised 
from  =/25  cents  to  =/70  cents  [Ceylon  cur- 
rency] per  measure,  the  government  withdrew 
the  free  mid-day  meal  to  school  children  and 
itiidr eased  postal  fares  and  train  fares. 

The  LSSP  took  the  lead  in  developing  mass 
agitation  on  these  issues.  But  even  while  the 
mass  movement  was  visibly  growing  around 
these  issues,  the  leaders  of  the  LSSP,  who  had 
empirically  moved  into  a  struggle  gituation, 
failed  to  see  the  revolutionary  possibilities  in 
the  situation.  Their  perspectives  did  not  go  be- 
yond mass  protest  action  against  the  actions 
and  policies  of  the  government. 

In  this  context,  the  LSSP  leaders  were  taken 
by  surprise  by  the  response  of  the  masses  to 
the  one-day  protest  action  that  was  decided 
upon. 

Though  acting  empirically,  the  LSSP  cor- 
rectly applied  the  tactic  of  the  united  front.  The 
Philip  Gunawardena  group  (MEP),  the  Stalinists 
and  even  the  Federal  Party  (bourgeois-led 
Tamil  minority  Party)  were  pushed  into  becom- 
ing the  co-sponsors  of  the  Hartari2  action. 

The  withdrawal  of  work  (strike  action)  of 

> ,  (continued  next  page) 

1?  A  political  mass  strike. 


SPARTACiST 




. . .  Ceylon 

the  workers  supported  by  the  closing  of  busi- 
ness and  the  stoppage  of  work  by  peasants  and 
other  self-employed  people,  all  of  whom  re- 
sorted to  direct  action  struggle  by  barricading 
roads,  cutting  down  trees  and  telephone  posts, 
stopping  of  buses  and  trains— all  this  turned 
into  a  real  confrontation  with  the  armed  forces 
of  the  government.  What  occurred  was  a  semi- 
insurrection  in  which  the  masses  fought  the 
police  and  the  army  with  stones  and  clubs  and 
whatever  they  found  by  way  of  weapons.  Nine 
persons  were  killed  by  police  shooting. 

What  the  working  class  and  the  masses  that 
were  in  the  struggle  looked  forward  to  was  not 
a  mere  one -day  protest  action  and  a  return  to 
work  the  following  day.  They  were  in  readiness 
for  a  struggle  to  overthrow  the  hated  UNP  gov- 
ernment. In  fact,  this  direct  action  of  the  mass- 
es continued  on  the  next  day  also.  There  were 
clear  possibilities  of  this  Hartal  action  being 
continued  for  several  days  thereafter.  But  the 
LSSP  leadership,  despite  the  unmistakable 
moods  of  the  workers  and  other  sections  of 
the  masses,  decided  to  keep  to  their  plan  of 
a  mere  protest  action  and  called  off  the  Hartal 
and  prevented  the  masses  from  continuing 
the  struggle. 

Dynamics  of  the  Ceylon  Revolution 

What  the  LSSP  leadership  had  failed  to  de- 
velop theoretically— the  dynamics  of  the  Ceylon 
revolution— the  Hartal  struggle  showed  in  prac- 
tise, even  in  outline.  The  following  features 
were  prominently  silhouetted',  in  the  political 
scene; 

1.  Contrary  to  the  misgivings  of  the  LSSP 
leaders  (which  some  of  them  developed  into 
theories  later),  the  Ceylonese  masses  were  not 
so  steeped  in  parliamentarism  that  they  would 
first  have  to  go  through  a  long  parliamentary 
period  before  they  got  on  to  the  road  of  revolu- 
tionary struggle.  The  Hartal  showed  that, 
given  a  revolutionary  leadership,  the  masses 
could  soon  shed  their  parliamentary  illusions 
and  enter  the  road  of  mass  struggle  leading  to 
the  revolution  itself. 

2.  The  masses  did  not  divide  the  Ceylon  rev- 
olution into  two  stages,  (a)  an  anti -imperialist 
and  anti-feudal  stage  and  (b)  an  anti-capitalist 
stage.  The  democratic  revolution  and  the  so- 
cialist revolution  were  telescoped  in  a  single 
struggle.  The  issues  that  brought  the  masses 
into  revolutionary  struggle  were  issues  arising 


out  of  imperialist  capitalist  oppression— in- 
crease of  price  of  rice,  train  fares,  postal 
fares,  etc.  The  capitalist  class  had  the  need 
to  save  foreign  exchange  through  a  cut  in  the 
ration  of  rice  and  cutting  down  of  social  ser- 
vices for  the  maintaining  of  capitalist  profit 
levels.  The  uncompleted  democratic  tasks, 
completing  of  independence,  and  the  ending  of 
minority  and  caste  oppression  could  be  accom- 
plished only  in  the  course  of  the  socialist 
revolution. 

Despite  their  so-called  two-stage  theory, 
the  Stalinists  found  themselves  taken  along 
into  an  anti-capitalist  struggle  and  an  uprising 
against  a  capitalist  government.  Also,  con- 
trary to  their  so-called  theory,  they  were 
shown  in  practise  that  the  anti -UNP  struggle 
could  not  be  separated  from  the  anti-capitalist 
struggle. 

3.  Again,  contrary  to  the  orientation  of  the 
Stalinists  and  later  also  of  the  LSSP,  it  was 
not  the  so-called  progressive  bourgeoisie  or 
petty  bourgeoisie  that  led  the  masses  in  this 
struggle,  but  the  proletariat.  Led  by  the  LSSP, 
it  was  the  working  class  that  took  the  leading 
role  in  this  struggle.  The  urban  and  rural 
petty  bourgeoisie,  the  peasants  and  the  stu- 
dents and  youth  all  followed  the  leadership 
of  the  working  class.  The  party  of  the  so-called 
progressive  bourgeoisie,  the  Bandaranaike- 
led  SLFP,  was  not  ready,  even  to  be  one  of 
the  sponsors  of  the  Hartal  action. 

4.  The  alliance  of  the  proletariat  and  the 
peasantry,  which  is  basic  to  the  Ceylon  revo- 
lution, was  achieved  in  action.  The  struggle 
showed  that  it  was  not  necessary  for  the  prole- 
tariat to  form  a  political  alliance  with  a  bour- 
geois or  petty-bourgeois  party  in  order  to 
win  the  peasantry.  The  peasantry  can  be  won 
to  the  side  of  the  proletariat  on  the  basis  of 
support  for  their  burning  issues  in  opposition 
to  the  bourgeoisie. 

The  LSSP  leadership  failed  to  draw  the 
lessons  of  this  Hartal  experience.  It  failed  to 
theoretically  evaluate  the  events  of  this  semi- 
insurrection  and  relate  them  to  the  theory  of 
the  permanent  revolution  as  it  applied  to  Cey- 
lon, a  backward  country.  The  LSSP  leadership 
failed  to  realise  that  what  was  urgent  and  un- 
postponable  was  the  raising  of  the  ideological 
level  of  the  party  in  the  perspective  of  devel- 
oping into  a  Bolshevik-type  revolutionary  com- 
bat party. 

Politics  of  the  International 
Secretariat 

We  have  already  noted  that  in  the  view  of 
Mandel,  in  the  post  unification  years  (LSSP- 


WINTER  1973-74 


9 


BSP),  the  LSSP's  "activities  as  a  whole  were 
proceeding  in  accordance  with  the  general 
program  of  Trotskyism." 

Thus,  in  the  view  of  the  International  Sec- 
retariat, there  was  no  occasion  for  any  serious 
intervention  on  its  part  in  regard  to  the  LSSP. 

The  truth  in  this  regard  was  that,  with  the 
new  turn  of  the  I.S.  in  1951  (3rd  Congress) 
under  the  guidance  of  Pablo,  there  could  not  be, 
in  their  view,  any  problems  for  the  LSSP  in 
regard  to  ideological  development  or  the  build- 
ing of  a  Bolshevik-type  party. 

According  to  the  thesis  of  the  3rd  Congress 
there  was  no  need  to  build  independent  Trot- 
skyist  parties;  what  was  necessary  was  to 
take  the  "quickest  road  to  the  masses"  where- 
ever  they  be,  in  the  Stalinist  or  other  reform- 
ist parties,  for  "the  integrating"  of  the  revolu- 
tionary Marxist  cadre  deeply  into  the  so-called 
real  movement  of  the  masses. 

The  same  thesis  of  the  3rd  Congress  left 
the  door  open  for  an  interpretation  that  the 
Stalinist  parties  have  transformed  themselves 
from  road-blocks  to  the  proletarian  revolution 
into  parties  that  are  capable  of  taking  the 
revolutionary  road. 

It  was  against  this  liquidationist  turn  of  the 
International  that  the  SWP  (United  States) -led 
minority  revolted  and  split  in  1953.  On  the 
first  news  of  the  split  the  LSSP  leadership 
leaned  on  the  side  of  the  minority  and  appeared 
to  be  willing  to  take  up  the  struggle  against 
Pabloist  revisionism  andliquidationism,  Butin 
the  state  of  ideological  confusion  that  reigned 
in  the  LSSP  and  its  leadership,  and  in  the  con- 
text of  the  theoretical  weakness  of  the  Inter- 
national Committee  (IC),  i3  the  leaders  of  the 
LSSP  wavered  and  jumped  on  to  the  band- 
wagon of  the  majority  led  by  the  Mandels, 
Pierre  Franks  and  the  Livios. 

In  reality,  the  liquidationist  and  revisionist 
line  of  Pablo,  according  to  which  there  is  no 
need  to  build  independent  Marxist  parties,  and 
according  to  which  what  was  urgent  was  the 
"integration  into  the  living  movement  of  the 
masses"— all  this  dovetailed  into  the  orienta- 
tion of  the  LSSP  leaders  whose  pre-occupation 
was  developing  mass  activity— in  the  trade 
unions  and  in  the  electorates  without  revolu- 
tionary perspective. 

1953  Split 

On  the  other  hand,  the  Pabloist  pro-Stalinist 


13  The  International  Committee  was  formed  by 
those  sections  of  the  Fourth  International  who 
broke  from  the  Pabloist  International  Sec- 
retariat in  1953,  The  IC  included  the  SWP 


orientation  found  more  than  a  responsive  echo 
with  the  Henry  Peiris-led  faction  which 
emerged  in  the  party  in  the  fall  of  1952.  P'  res- 
olution of  this  faction,  led  by  Henry  Peiris,  Wil- 
liam Silva  and  T.B.  Subasinghe,  "declared that 
in  the  elections  the  party  should  have  put  for- 
ward the  slogan  of  a  'Democratic  Government 
which  would  have  meant,  at  its  lowest  level, 
a  Bandaranaike  government,  and  at  its  highest 
level,  a  Government  by  a  Sama  Samaja  major- 
ity'." It  also  took  the  position  "that  the  party 
should  enter  into  the  closest  possible  agree- 
ment and  co-operation  with  the  CP  and  Philip 
group  in  the  trade  union  and  political  fields" 
Xshort  History  of  the  LSSP). 

This  was  clearly  the  moment  to  investi- 
gate into  the  roots  of  reformism  and  Stalinism 
that  had  grown  within  the  LSSP,  to  draw  up  a 
balance  sheet  of  the  efforts  of  the  LSSP  to 
move  in  a  Trotskyist  direction.  In  fact,  all  the 
basic  questions  of  Trotskyism,  the  program, 
the  application  of  the  theory  of  the  permanent 
revolution,  the  character  of  the  Ceylon  revo- 
lution, the  role  of  the  "national"  bourgeoisie, 
questions  of  strategy  and  tactics,  the  Leninist 
concept  of  the  party,  were  the  issues  that  were 
involved  in  this  factional  struggle  that  burst 
into  the  open. 

But  the  LSSP  leadership  conducted  the  fight 
against  the  reformists  and  Stalinists  within  the 
party  by  their  own  empirical  methods  and  in 
an  ad  hoc  manner,  counterposing  Trotskyist 
orthodoxy  to  the  politics  of  the  revisionists, 
very  much  in  the  manner  of  the  SWP  in  1953 
when  it  opposed  the  line  of  the  3rd  Congress. 
In  the  result,  the  factional  struggle  did  not  lead 
to  the  focusing  of  attention  on  the  fundamental 
questions  that  were  clearly  posed  before  the 
entire  party.  Nor  did  the  factional  struggle 
help  even  to  educate  the  membership  of  the 
party  and  to  raise  their  ideological  level, 
especially  when  the  party  was  moving  deeper 
into  parliamentary  politics,  where  Bandara- 
naike was  soon  to  become  the  principal  actor. 

Responsive  Co-operation 

Having  failed  to  understand  the  role  of  the 
so-called  national  bourgeoisie,  the  LSSP  lead- 
ership was  at  a  loss  to  know  how  to  deal  with 
the  Bandaranaike -led  MEP  government  that 
(continued  next  page) 


led  by  J.P,  Cannon,  the  majority  of  the 
French  section  led  by  Bleibtreu-Lambert,  and 
the  British  grouping  led  by  G.  Healy. 


. . .  Ceylon 

was  formed  after  the  1956  parliamentary 
electionSo 

Succumbing  to  the  mass  hysteria  and  en- 
thusiasm at  the  election  victory  of  the  MiEP 
to  office,  the  LSSP  announced  its  attitude  to  the 
new  government  as  one  of  "responsive  co- 
operation." It  was  of  course  necessary  to  note 
the  popularity  of  the  MEP  government.  It  was 
undoubtedly  imperative  for  the  LSSP  to  take 
note  of  the  prevailing  mass  sentiment  and  the 
mass  moods  in  relation  to  the  first  Bandara- 
naike  government,  before  the  party  decided  on 
its  tactics  in  the  situation.  But  it  was  un- 
pardonable for  a  party  claiming  to  be  rev- 
olutionary Marxist  to  resort  to  equivocal 
formulae,  and  echo  mass  illusions  when  it  was 
imperative  to  categorically  state  party  posi- 
tions. And  in  this  case,  it  was  the  question  of 
correctly  characterising  the  MEP  government 
which  was  a  bourgeois  bonap artist  government 
that  was  seeking  to  deceive  the  masses  with 
nationalist  and  socialist  phraseology.  It  was 
the  duty  of  the  LSSP  to  patiently  explain  to  the 
masses  regarding  the  truth  about  the  character 
of  this  government.  On  the  contrary,  the  LSSP 
chose  the  occasion  to  opportunistically  go  along 
with  the  masses,  whilst  keeping  the  door  open 
for  later  criticism  of  the  government  when  the 
mass  moods  underwent  a  change. 

The  Mandels,  Pierre  Franks  and  the  Livios 
of  the  I.S.  looked  on  from  a  distance.  They 
never  once  in  this  regard  expressed  their 
views  on  the  LSSP  line  on  this  question.  Either 
it  was  the  case  of  the  I.S.  approving  the  LSSP 
line  in  this  regard,  or  the  I.S.  did  not  seek  to 
interfere  in  the  internal  affairs  of  a  section 
of  the  International  on  the  basis  of  its  real 
orientation,  that  the  Revolutionary  Interna- 
tional is  a  sum  of  several  national  parties 
that  function  independently  of  the  International 
centre! 

However,  it  was  the  Bandaranaike  MEP  re- 
gime itself  that  gave  the  LSSP  the  opportunity 
to  re=assess  the  character  of  this  government. 
Before  long,  the  bankruptcy  of  "Bandaranaik6 
principles"  became  evident  to  a  section  of  the 
masses.  It  was  to  conceal  this  bankruptcy 
that  Bandaranaike  resorted  to  communalism 
that  led  to  the  worst  anti-Tamil  riots  in  Ceylon 
(1956-1958).  And  what  was  particularly  help- 
ful to  the  LSSP  was  that  the  organised  working 
class  lost  faith  in  the  promises  of  Bandaranaike 
and  moved  into  strike  action  to  win  theit 
wage  demands. 


But  the  LSSP,  as  before,  acted  only  em- 
pirically. In  a  tail-endist  fashion,  the  LSSP 
supported  the  working-class  strikes  and 
adopted  only  a  more  critical  attitude  to 
Bandaranaike. 

Although  the  LSSP  correctly  noted  that  the 
Bandaranaike  government  (MEP)  was  bona- 
partist  in  character,  it  failed  to  draw  the  con- 
clusion that  mass  illusions  in  such  a 
government  cannot  easily  disappear,  that  the 
LSSP  had  to  launch  consistent  struggle  on 
many  fronts  on  reformism  and  Stalinism  to 
win  the  masses  away  from  "Bandaranaike 
politics."  On  the  other  hand,  the  LSSP  naively 
believed  that,  with  the  assassination  of  Ban- 
daranaike, "Bandaranaike  politics"  had  come 
to  an  end.  The  LSSP  even  believed  that  the  road 
was  now  open  for  the  party  to  ride  to  par- 
liamentary power. 

It  was  thus  that  the  LSSP  decided  to  throw 
all  its  forces  in  the  1960  elections  (March) 
with  the  aim  of  winning  a  majority  to  form  an 
LSSP  government  in  parliament.  And  the  Inter- 
national Secretariat,  the  Mandels  and  the 
Pierre  Franks,  looked  on  approvingly  with 
hope  that  the  LSSP  would  win  a  majority  in 
this  election. 

But  the  SLFP,  led  by  the  widow  of  Bandara- 
naike, came  out  of  the  elections  (March  1960), 
as  the  party  with  the  largest  number  of  seats, 
although  it  failed  to  win  an  overall  majority 
to  form  the  government.  The  LSSP  was  reduced 
from  12  to  10  seats  and  was  thrown  into  a 
state  of  confusion. 

But  this  outcome  of  the  elections  might  well 
have  been  the  opportunity  for  the  party  to 
review  its  election  policy  which  contributed 
in  a  large  way  to  increasing  mass  illusions 
in  parliament  and  also  to  disorienting  the  party 
membership.  In  fact  the  decision  of  the  party 
to  bid  for  a  parliamentary  majority  was 
evidence  that  the  party  had  lost  all  revolu- 
tionary perspective  and  had  accepted  the 
reformist  and  Stalinist  parliamentary  or  so- 
called  peaceful  road  to  socialism. 

Nor  did ,  the  Mandels  and  Pierre  Franks  of 
the  International  Secretariat  intervene  cor- 
rectly even  after  the  event,  in  this  regard.  The 
leaders  of  the  I.S.  could  not  realise  that  what 
was  involved  here  was  the  disease  of  parlia- 
mentarism and  reformism  that  had  got  a 
stranglehold  on  the  party,  and  not  a  question  of 
miscalculation  or  wrong  evaluation.  Here  is  a 
sample  bf  their  orientation  in  this  regard— 

"The   starting  point   must  be  a  frank  self 
criticism  of  the  errors  in  analysis  and  eval- 
uation committed  by  the  party  prior  to  the  20th 
March  elections,  namely— 
(a)  It  thought  that  the  objective  situation  was 


WINTER  1973-74 


11 


favourable  to  the  victory  of  the  revolutionary 
movement; 

(b)  It  supposed  that  the  masses  have  already  had 
enough  e;q}erience  with  the  SLFP  and  that  as  a 
result  they  might  in  their  majority  turn  towards 
the  LSSP." 

(I.S.  Document  on  Ceylon,  October  1960) 
In  this  context,  it  was  no  surprise  that  the 
leadership  of  the  LSSP,  which  was  now  steeped 
in  parliamentarism  continued  to  look  desper- 
ately for  solutions  within  the  sameparliamen- 
tarist  perspective.  And  it  was  thus  that  the  next 
step  was  taken  by  the  right-wing  leader  N.M. 
Perera  who  challenged  all  the  basic  positions 
of  Trotskyism,  pronounced  that  the  proletariat 
in  Ceylon  was  petty -bourgeois  in  outlook,  that 
revolutionary  mass  struggle  leading  to  the 
dictatorship  of  the  proletariat  was  impossible 
and  crudely  proposed  that  the  LSSP  enter  a 
coalition  front  with  the  SLFP  "on  an  agreed 
program." 

And  as  for  the  "brilliant  Marxists"  like 
Mandel,  the  Colvins  and  the  Leslies,  they  were 
only  a  step  behind  N.M.  Perera.  In  fact,  it  was 
Leslie  Gunawardena  that  sought  to  give 
theoretical  justification  for  the  betrayal  that 
Perera  found  no  difficulty  in  proposing  in 
the  manner  of  the  Social  Democrats.  Leslie 
Gunawardena,  you  see,  was,  in  keeping  with 
the  traditions  of  the  Trotskyist  movement, 
against  the  popular  front!  But  according  to  Les- 
lie Gunawardena  a  popular  front  with  an  anti- 
capitalist  program  was  in  accordance  with  the 
program  of  Trotskyism!  Thus  Leslie  Guna- 
wardena was  opposed  to  N.M.  Perera's  pro- 
posal to  form  a  coalition  government  on  an 
agreed  minimum  program.  "This  action"  wrote 
Leslie  "was  light-minded  and  unworthy  of  a 
party  that  claims  to  employ  the  Marxist 
method"! 

Four  years  later,  in  June  1964,  these  same 
■brilliant  Marxists"  led  by  this  same  Leslie 
had  moved  far  and  away  from  Leslie's  own 
theory  of  1960.  They  were  opposed  to  the  pro- 
posal of  N.M.  Perera  not  on  the  absence  of  an 
anti-capitalist  program.  Their  difference  with 
N.M.  Perera  was  that  they  wanted  a  coalition 
government  between  the  entire  ULFM-LSSP- 
MEP,  CP  and  the  SLFP— They  wanted  a  com- 
plete and  proper  popular  front! 

Opposition 

Though  late,  left  oppositional  elements 
in  the  LSSP  began  to  intervene.     In  1957, 


14  The  United  Left  Front  (ULF)  was  an  elec- 
toral bloc  in  the  1963  elections  of  the  LSSP, 
the  Communist  Party  and  Philip  Gunawardena's 
MEP  on  ajointprogramof  minimal  reforms. 


one  year  after  Bandaranaike  assumed  office, 
the  opposition  to  the  policy  of  "responsive 
co-operation"  manifested  itself  through  a  small 
group  in  the  Central  Committee.  In  its  amend- 
ment to  the  political  resolution  of  the  Central 
Committee,  this  group  (W.  Dharmasena,  Robert 
Gunawardena,  Edmund  [Samarakkody],  Chan- 
dra Gunasekera)  stated— 

"When  the  MEP  government  came  into  pow- 
er the  masses  were  intoxicated  with  illusions 
regarding  this  government.  Large  sections 
of  the  masses  close  to  the  party  expected 
the  party  to  support  the  MEP  government. 
In  this  situation,  partly  due  to  lack  of  clar- 
ity (of  the  party)  regarding  the  MEP  govern- 
ment, the  party  offered  co-operation  (res- 
ponsive) to  the  government  whilst  directing 
the  parliamentary  group  to  sit  in  the  opposi- 
tion. As  the  party  failed  to  characterise 
the  MEP  government  as  a  capitalist  govern- 
ment, the  fact  that  the  parliamentary  group 
sat  in  the  opposition  did  not  signalise  its 
fundamental  opposition  or  of  being  against 
the  government.  Whatever  was  the  intention 
of  the  party,  in  the  eyes  of  the  masses, 
the  key  to  the  understanding  of  the  fundamen- 
tal position  of  the  party  in  relation  to  the 
government  was  the  offer  of  co-operation 
(responsive)  by  the  party.  This  offer  of 
co-operation  to  the  capitalist  government  was 
wrong.  The  party  could  have  and  should  have 
offered  support  to  the  progressive  measures 
of  the  government  while  stating  categorically 
that  the  MEP  government  was  a  capitalist 
government.  However,  unpalatable  and  unac- 
ceptable it  may  have  been  to  the  masses, 
the  party  should  have  characterised  this  gov- 
ernment as  a  capitalist  government  and  there- 
after proceeded  to  explain."  (Amendment  of 
Edmund-Robert  group  in  the  CC,  1957). 

In  the  further  efforts  to  combat  parliamen- 
tarism and  to  take  the  party  along  the  path 
of  mass  struggle  the  group  insisted  that  "the 
aim  of  the  party  in  relation  to  the  MEP 
government  is  revolutionary  overthrow  of 
the  government,  i.e.  by  the  method  of  the 
mass  uprising.  The  masses  are  not  ready 
now  (today)  for  the  overthrow  of  the  govern- 
ment. But  in  view  of  the  failure  of  the 
government  to  solve  the  pressing  problems 
of  the  people,  in  view  of  the  ever  increasing 
dissension  in  the  MEP,  and  the  demoralisa- 
tion of  its  own  ranks,  in  view  of  the  growing 
militancy  of  the  working  class,  the  situation 
can  change  very  rapidly,  and  at  any  moment 
from  now,  the  masses  could  well  raise  the 
slogan  'Down  with  the  MEP  government.' 
As  a  bridge  between  their  present  conscious- 
ness and  the  stage  when  they  will  be  ready 
for  the  call  for  the  overthrow  of  the  Govern- 

(continued  next  page) 


12 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Ceylon 

ment,  the  party  will  adopt  as  a  central  agi- 
tational slogan  'We  do  not  want  the  capitalist 
MEP  government,  we  want  a  workers  and 
peasants  government'." 

Undoubtedly  this  group  failed  to  come  to 
grips  with  the  roots  of  reformism  in  the 
party.  It  only  focused  attention  on  some 
aspects  of  party  policy.  Nevertheless,  the 
orientation  of  this  group  gave  promise  of 
possibilities  for  the  growth  of  a  real  rev- 
olutionary tendency. 

It  was  thus  an  opportune  moment  for  the 
leaders  of  the  loS,  to  intervene  on  the  side 
of  the  left  oppositional  elements  that  were 
definitively  emerging.  But  there  was  no  such 
intervention,  for  the  reason  that  these  lead- 
ers, the  Mandels  and  the  Pierre  Franks,  had 
no  differences  with  the  LSSP  leadership  in 
regard  to  their  policy  of  "responsive  co- 
operation" to  the  Bandaranaike  government. 

It  was  only  when  the  LSSP  leaders  took 
the  inevitable  step  from  "responsive  co- 
operation" to  the  call  for  support  of  an 
SLFP  government  that  the  leaders  of  the 
International  Secretariat  intervened  with  a 
document  to  register  their  opposition. 

The  leaders  of  the  I.S.  were  in  a  dilemma. 
If  the  LSSP  was  right  when  it  offered  co- 
operation (responsive  co-operation)  to  the 
first  Bandaranaike  government  (MEP)  how 
could  the  LSSP  be  wrong  when  it  called  for 
and  supported  the  formation  of  an  SLFP 
government  in  parliament? 

The  answer  to  this  question  is  that  the 
LSSP  was  completely  wrong  in  offering  co- 
operation (responsive)  to  the  bourgeois  MEP 
government  of  Bandaranaike  in  1956.  The 
LSSP  was  once  again  wrong  in  calling  for 
support  of  the  bourgeois  SLFP  in  1960. 

But  the  leaders  of  the  I.S.  were  not  pre- 
pared to  admit  that  it  was  their  failure  that 
they  did  not  state  categorically  that  the  policy 
of  "responsive  co-operation"  was  wrong.  It 
was  thus  that  the  Mandels  and  Pierre  Franks 
found  themselves  on  the  defensive  before 
the  LSSP  reformists  in  their  attempt  to  ex- 
plain what  they  really  meant  by  "critical 
support"  to  the  SLFP  government.  These 
leaders  of  the  I.S.  were  guilty  of  a  serious 
distortion  of  the  Leninist-Trotskyist  position 
in  regard  to  the  governments  of  the  so- 
called  national  progressive  bourgeoisie.'  And 
here  is  their  orientation  in  that  regard— 
"We  do  not  forget  that,  in  the  case  of  col- 
onial and  semi-colonial  countries,  the  revol- 


utionary party  can  give  its  critical  support 
to  governments  with  a  non^-proletarian  lead- 
ership, be  they  petty-bourgeois  or  bourgeois"! 
[our  emphasis-E.S.](Document  of  the  LS.  on 
Ceylon), 

However,  in  the  same  breath,  the  document 
continued,  "The  support  of  a  revolutionary 
party  for  a  bourgeois  or  petty -bourgeois 
government  cannot  be  other  than  critical, 
namely  strictly  conditional  and  limited.  That 
means  in  practise  that  this  support  can  be 
granted  for  progressive,  effectively  anti-capi- 
talist or  anti-imperialist  measures,  either 
planned  or  carried  out,  measures  that  must 
be  defended  against  any  maneouvre  or  sabo- 
tage by  the  reactionary  forces."  But  why 
this  equivocation?  A  revolutionary  Marxist 
party  will  not  and  cannot  give  even  critical 
support  to  any  bourgeois  or  petty -bourgeois 
government.  If  the  Mandels  and  the  Pierre 
Franks  mean  thereby  critical  support  to  only 
"progressive  and  anti- capitalist  and  anti- 
imperialist  measures"  then  how  do  they  talk 
of  "giving  critical  support  to  governments 
with  a  non-proletarian  leadership,  be  they 
petty-bourgeois  or  bourgeois"?  They  knew 
that  what  was  involved  here  was  the  attitude 
of  the  revolutionary  party  to  a  bourgeois 
government  in  a  colonial  or  semi-colonial 
country,  and  not  to  its  attitude  to  certain 
measures  of  such  a  government.  They  know 
well  that  a  revolutionary  Marxist  party  could 
well  give  critical  support  to  certain  measures 
of  bourgeois  governments,  even  of  military 
governments.  But  the  attitude  of  a  revolu- 
tionary Marxist  party  to  a  bourgeois  govern- 
ment with  even  a  "progressive"  coloration 
can  be  nothing  but  irreconcilable  opposition, 
although  the  manner  of  opposition  to  such  a 
government  will  depend  on  the  mass  senti- 
ment in  relation  to  the  government. 

It  is  thus  that  support  to  a  government, 
whether  disguised  as  "responsive  co-opera- 
tion" or  critical  support,  must  be  rejected 
as  being  in  direct  conflict  with  the  funda- 
mental programmatic  position  of  the  party. 

But  whatever  were  the  weaknesses  and 
equivocations  of  the  International  Secretariat, 
the  reformist  leadership  of  the  LSSP  had 
by  their  unequivocal  call  for  support  of  an 
SLFP  government  in  May  1960  exposed  the 
hollowness  of  their  claims  to  be  a  Trotsky- 
ist  party.  This  meant  that  the  task  of  rev- 
olutionary Marxists  within  the  LSSP  was  to 
begin  the  struggle  for  a  Trotskyist  program 
and  the  organisation  of  a  revolutionary  ten- 
dency with  or  without  the  support  of  the 
International  Secretariat. 


v. 


WINTER  1973-74 


13 


However,  the  left  oppositionists  in  the 
LSSP  allowed  themselves  to  be  disarmed 
when  the  LSSP  leadership  empirically  put 
on  an  oppositional  stance  in  relation  to  the 
SLFP  government,  especially  when  sectors 
of  the  working  class  moved  into  strike  ac- 
tion under  the  leadership  of  the  LSSP.  And, 
for  its  part,  the  International  Secretariat 
even  believed  that  an  appeal  to  the  party 
leadership  from  the  World  Congress  would 
sxiffice  to  make  these,  now  confirmed  re- 
formists, take  a  revolutionary  road! 

"The  World  Congress  appeals  to  the  Lan- 
ka Sama  Samaja  Party  for  a  radical  change 
in  the  political  course  in  the  direction  in- 
dicated by  the  document  of  the  leadership 
of  the  International." 

"The  Congress  is  confident  that  the  next 
National  Conference  of  the  LSSP  in  whose 
political  preparation  the  whole  International 
must  participate,  will  know  how  to  adopt 
all  the  political  and  organisational  decisions 
necessary  to  overcome  the  crisis  which  was 
revealed  following  on  the  results  of  the  March 
1960  election  campaign."  (Letter  of  6th  World 
Congress  to  LSSP) 

Far  from  any  effective  participation  of  the 
International  or  any  participation  at  all  by 
the  I,S.  in  any  national  conference  of  the 
LSSP  "for  a  radical  change  in  its  political 
course,"  the  Mandels  and  Pi6rre  Franks 
were  once  again  traversing  the  same  par- 
liamentarist  road  with  the  LSSP  leadership, 
just  when  the  working  class  had  achieved, 
as  never  before,  unity  for  struggle  around 
21  demands  which  could  well  develop  into 
political  struggle  against  the  SLFP  govern- 
ment and  the  capitalist  class. 

United  Left  Front 

The  Marxist  tactic  of  the  united  front 
with  Stalinist  and  reformist  working-class 
parties  and  even  bourgeois  parties  means 
nothing  more  than  unity  in  action  in  concrete 
anti- imperialist  or  class-struggle  situations. 
It  can  never  mean  a  political  alliance  with 
such  parties,  which  cannot  have  any  other 
objective  than  the  winning  of  reforms  from 
the  capitalists  or  the  capitalist  government. 

The  problem  of  the  alternative  govern- 
ment, alternative  to  the  bourgeois  govern- 
ment, is  often  posed  before  the  revolution- 
ary Marxists.  But  this  question  of  an  al- 
ternative government  is  linked  to  the  dynam- 
ics of  the  revolution. 

This  means  that  revolutionary  Marxists 
do  not  project  a  transitional  reformist  gov- 
ernment prior  to  a  workers  government.  But 


this  was  precisely  the  orientation  of  the  LSSP 
leaders  who  in  their  search  for  an  alterna- 
tive to  a  bourgeois  government,  proposed  a 
government  of  the  so-called  "United  Left 
Front"  composed  of  the  two  working-class- 
based  parties--the  LSSP  and  CP--and  the 
petty-bourgeois  MEP  (Philip  Gunawardena) 
on  an  agreed  program  (July  1963). 

The  concluding  paragraph  of  the  preamble 
to  this  agreement,  containing  a  "General 
Program"  (maximum)  and  an  immediate  pro- 
gram, revealed  the  reformist  and  Stalinist 
character  of  this  "Front", 

"In  accordance  with  the  needs  of  this 
situation  and  in  response  to  this  mass  urge, 
the  Ceylon  Communist  Party,  the  Lanka  Sama 
Samaja  Party  and  the  Mahajana  Eksath  Per- 
amuna  have  agreed  to  form  a  United  Left 
Front  in  order  to  mobilise  and  lead  all 
anti -imperialist,  anti -feudal  and  socialist  for- 
ces in  Ceylon  in  the  fight  to  establish  a  gov- 
ernment that  will  give  effect  to  the  following 
general  program." 

The  "immediate"  or  the  minimum  part 
of  this  program,  which  was  the  real  pro- 
gram of  the  Front,  speaks  for  itself.  The 
following  are  among  the  demands  of  the 
"immediate"  or  minimum  program:  (a)  Bring 
down  PricesI  Let  the  State  import  and 
undertake  the  wholesale  trade  in  all  essen- 
tial commodities,  (b)  End  the  wage  freeze.' 
Political  and  trade  union  rights  for  teachers 
and  other  employees  of  the  Government.... 
(c)  Participation  of  workers  in  each  work 
place  in  the  management  of  state  and  nation- 
alised undertakings,  (d)  Nationalise  the  13 
Foreign  Banksl 

Revolutionary  Tendency 

The  minority  in  the  Central  Committee  (14 
members),  that  had  for  some  time  been  mov- 
ing in  a  revolutionary  orientation,  were  cate- 
gorically opposed  to  the  so-called  United  Left 
Front. 

The  minority  (which  included  Meryl  [Fer- 
nando], Edmund  [Samarakkody],  Karlo  [Karala- 
singham],  [Bala]  Tampoe,  D.S.  Mallawaratchi, 
S.A.  Martinus,  W.  Dharmasena)  was  quick  to 
see  the  reformist  nature  of  this  ULF  which  it 
correctly  characterised  as  popular  frontis ml 
"The  situation  which  now  faces  the  party  is  one 
in  which  it  is  clear  that  the  MEP  and  the  CP 
are  not  contemplating  the  t3rpe  of  United  Front 
activity  that  will  in  fact  provide  a  united  left 
lead  to  the  masses  against  the  SLFP  govern- 
ment and  the  forces  of  capitalist  reaction. 

(continued  next  page) 


14 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Ceylon 

These  two  parties  are  seeking  instead,  to  se- 
cure the  party's  consent  to  putting  forward  an 
agreed  governmental  program  before  the 
masses  in  the  name  of  the  United  Left  Front 
for  the  purpose  of  canvassing  support  for  the 
establishment  of  a  popular  front  type  of  govern- 
ment in  parliament.  This  parliamentary  re- 
formist perspective  for  united  front  activity 
must  be  rejected  by  the  party.... 

. . .  The  party  must  avoid  any  course  of  action 
which  is  likely  to  strengthen  the  illusions  al- 
ready created  amoi^st  the  left  minded  masses 
that  the  road  forward  to  socialism  in  Ceylon 
lies  through  the  setting  up  of  a  United  Left 
Front  with  the  objective  of  establishing  a  coa- 
lition government  in  parliament,  on  the  basis  of 
any  agreed  program  for  that  purpose." 

(Resolution  of  the  CC  minority) 

With  the  emergence  of  a  revolutionary  ten- 
dency led  by  14  members  of  the  Central  Com- 
mittee, the  time  was  opportune  to  begin  in  an 
organised  manner  the  struggle  against  parlia- 
mentarism and  reformism  and  for  orienting 
the  party  in  a  revolutionary  direction.  And  this 
was  clearly  the  moment  for  the  International 
Secretariat  to  come  down  decisively  on  the  side 
of  the  CC  minority,  for  a  joint  struggle  for  the 
building  of  the  revolutionary  party. 

It  was  thus  that  the  CC  minority  looked  for- 
ward hopefully  for  support  from  the  Mandels 
and  the  Pierre  Franks,  especially  when  the 
International  Secretariat  had  once  again,  in  the 
fall  of  1961,  reminded  the  LSSP  leaders  that  it 
was  urgent  for  the  party  to  be  re -oriented  on 
the  lines  suggested  by  the  I.S.  and  endorsed  by 
the  Sixth  World  Congress.  By  its  August  (1961) 
resolution  on  Ceylon,  the  I.S,  reiterated  the 
following  matters. 

(a)  "The  impossibility  of  the  conquest  of 
power  by  the  parliamentary  way  and  the  neces- 
sity for  never  forgetting  that  the  smashing  of 
the  bourgeois  apparatus  and  the  creation  by  the 
masses  in  the  course  of  a  revolutionary  process 
as  a  whole,  of  new  organs  of  power,  remain 
the  condition  for  the  victory  of  the  proletariat 
and  its  revolutionary  party"; 

(b)  "The  necessity  of  working  to  make  pos- 
sible a  close  alliance  between  the  worker  mass- 
es and  the  peasants  and  more  particularly  for 
the  operation  of  the  real  junction  with  the  Indian 
agricultural  workers,  who  remain  one  of  the 
motive  forces  of  the  revolution  in  Ceylon;  the 
necessity  to  underline  the  principled  attitude 
favourable  to  trade  union  unity." 

(c)  The  International  Secretariat  even  re- 
minded the  LSSP  leadership  that  "up  till  now, 


the  conference  of  the  LSSP,  which  should  have 
discussed  all  these  questions,  has  not  been  con- 
voked and  there  is  consequently  no  official 
stand  of  the  party." 

All  this  and  the  initial  reactions  of  the  Inter- 
national Secretariat  to  the  parliamentarism 
that  was  reflected  through  the  first  draft  of  the 
ULF  agreement  gave  promise  of  principled  po- 
sitions in  this  regard  by  the  Mandels  and  the 
Pierre  Franks,  especially  in  the  context  of  the 
categorical  opposition  of  the  CC  minority  (14 
members  out  of  44)* 

But  it  was  just  when  the  CC  minority  looked 
to  cooperation  from  the  Mandels  and  Pierre 
Franks  to  continue  their  struggle  against  the 
LSSP  reformists  that  they  were  abandoned  by 
these  leaders  who  took  the  side  of  the  N.M. 
Pereras  and  Leslies  when  the  latter  signed  the 
so-called  agreement  of  the  United  Left  Front 
which  was  nothing  but  a  modest  programme  of 
reforms  to  fight  the  next  parliamentary  elec- 
tions in  the  perspective  of  forming  a  joint 
government  in  parliament.  The  I.S.  issued  a 
public  statement  hailing  the  formation  of  the 
LSSP-MEP-CP  "Left  United  Front." 

Was  the  International  Secretariat  correct  in 
supporting  the  United  Left  Front  formed  in 
August  1963?  What  was  their  justification  in 
this  regard?  Were  they  acting  in  accordance 
with  the  general  program  of  Trotskyism? 

Workers  and  Peasants  Government 

The  call  of  the  Bolsheviks  in  191 7  for  a  gov- 
ernment of  the  Socialist  Revolutionaries  and 
Mensheviks  and  their  readiness  to  designate 
such  a  government  as  a  workers  and  peasants 
government  has  been  the  excuse  for  revision- 
ists of  the  United  Secretariat  and  oftheHealy- 
ite  variety  to  call  for  support  of  governments 
of  reformist  working-class  parties  and  petty- 
bourgeois  parties,  which  are  nothing  but 
governments  for  bourgeois  reform.  And  this 
was  precisely  the  orientation  of  the  Mandels 
and  the  Pierre  Franks,  especially  since  the 
3rd  Congress  (1951). 

Here  is  for  example  the  section  of  the 
resolution  of  the  3rd  Congress  in  regard  to  the 
tactics  concretely  proposed  for  Chile: 

"It  [oifr  section]  will  develop  its  propa- 
ganda for  the  slogan  of  the  workers  and  peas- 
ants government  which  will  eventually  be  con- 
cretised in  this  country  as  a  government  of 
parties  claiming  to  represent  the  working 
class,  notably  the  Communist  Party  and  the 
Socialist  Party."  (This  meant  that  the  coali- 
tion government  of  Allende  that  was  recently 
overthrown  by  the  military  coup  was  the  con- 


WINTER  1973-74 


15 


cretisation  of  the  slogan  workers  andpeasants 
government!) 

And  this  was  specifically  the  advice  of  the 
I.S.  to  the  LSSP  when  these  leaders  intervened 
with  the  party  in  1960  against  their  proposal 
to  support  an  SLFP  government  in  that  year. 

"It  would  be  rather  dangerous,  however  for  the 
workers  parties  to  restrict  themselves  to  the 
framework  of  the  parliamentary  aims  and  not 
look  for  a  new,  effective  contact  with  the  mass- 
es, through  vigorous,  extra-parliamentary 
activity  among  the  worker  and  peasant  masses; 
and  at  an  electoral  policy  which  puts  forward 
a  radical  program  to  be  realised  by  the 
United  Front  of  the  parties  which  claim  to  be 
working  class."  [our  emphasis— E.S.] 

(I.S,  Document  on  Ceylon,  18  May  1960) 

But  it  is  precisely  against  this  reformist 
interpretation  of  the  Bolshevik  experience  that 
Trotsky  himself  had  warned. 

Trotsky  mentions  the  specific  conditions 
under  which  the  Bolsheviks  put  forward  the  slo- 
gan to  the  S.R.'s  and  the  Mensheviks— "break 
with  the  bourgeoisie  and  take  power."  Here  are 
these  specific  conditions: 

1.  It  was  a  slogan  put  forward  during  a 
particular  phase  in  the  pre-revolutionary  sit- 
uation of  1917— the  period  from  April  to  Sep- 
tember 1917. 

2.  In  this  context  "the  Bolshevik  party 
promised  the  Mensheviks  and  the  S.R.'s,  as  the 
petty-bourgeois  representatives  of  the  workers 
and  peasants,  its  revolutionary  aid  against  the 
bourgeoisie . . » " 

3.  The  Bolshevik  party  categorically  re- 
fused either  to  enter  the  government  of  the 
Mensheviks  and  the  S.R.'s  or  to  carry  political 
responsibility  for  it. 

4.  In  the  specific  context  in  which  this  slo- 
gan was  projected  "If  the  Mensheviks  and  the 
S.R.'s  had  actually  broken  with  the  Cadets  (lib- 
erals) and  with  foreign  imperialism,  then  'the 
workers'  and  peasants'  government'  created 
by  them  could  only  have  hastened  and  facilitated 
the  establishment  of  the  dictatorship  of  the 
proletariat.  "'15 

The  Transitional  Programme  (of  the  4th 
International)  left  no  room  for  any  misunder- 
standing in  regard  to  this  slogan— "This  for- 
mula, 'Workers  and  Peasants  Government,' 
first  appeared  in  the  agitation  of  the  Bolsheviks 
in  1917  and  was  definitely  accepted  after  the 
October  Insurrection.  In  the  final  instance  it 
represented  nothing  more  than  the  popular 


15  L.D.  Trotsky,  "The  Death  Agony  of  Capitalism 
and  the  Tasks  of  the  Fourth  International 
(The  Transitional  Program),"  1938. 


designation  for  the  already  established  dicta- 
torship of  the  proletariat. 

"...  The  slogan  'Workers  and  Farmers 
Government'  is  thus  acceptable  to  us  only  in 
the  sense  that  it  had  in  1917  with  the  Bolshe- 
viks—i.e.,  as  an  anti-bourgeois  and  anti- 
capitalist  slogan,  but  in  no  case  in  that  demo- 
cratic sense  which  later  the  epigones  gave  it, 
transforming  it  from  a  bridge  to  socialist  rev- 
olution into  the  chief  barrier  upon  its  path." 

The  International  Secretariat  was  com- 
pletely wrong  in  regard  to  the  so-called  tactics 
of  forming  governments  of  working-class  based 
parties  and  other  petty -bourgeois  parties  which 
they  proposed  for  the  backward  countries  in 
1951  (3rd  Congress)  and  specifically  to  the 
LSSP  in  1960  and  when  they  gave  their  sanc- 
tion to  the  United  Left  Front  in  August  1963. 
And  it  is  this  wrong  policy  that  the  U.Sec.  as 
well  as  the  Healyites  continue  to  follow  up  to 
the  present. 

The  Coalition  Government 

From  the  United  Left  Front  (LSSP-MEP- 
CP  Coalition)  to  an  SLFP-LSSP  coalition  was 
but  a  step.  And  this  happened  in  June  1964.  Of 
course  the  Mandels  and  the  Pierre  Franks  were 
frantically  wringing  their  hands  when  N.M. 
Perera  took  the  lead  to  make  this  proposal. 
And  this  time  "Barkis  was  willing."  The  bour- 
geois SLFP  government  was  in  crisis  and  con- 
ditions were  maturing  for  massive  working- 
class  action  against  the  government  at  a  time 
when  its  ranks  were  depleting.  Sirima  Ban- 
daranaike  needed  a  coalition  with  the  strongest 
working=class  based  party.  The  SLFP  leader 
readily  agreed  to  form  a  coalition  government 
with  the  LSSP  which  was  ready  to  betray  the 
working  class  and  the  toilers. 

The  revolutionary  tendency  categorically 
opposed  coalition  and  denounced  it  as  betrayal. 
However,  even  at  this  eleventh  hour,  the  I.S. 
failed  to  establish  direct  contact  with  the  revo- 
lutionary tendency  led  by  the  CC  opposition  of 
14  members  to  jointly  fight  the  reformists  in 
this  struggle.  Instead,  the  I.S.  sent  a  letter  to 
the  Secretary,  Leslie  Gunawardena,  the  con- 
tents of  which  were  known  to  the  minority  and 
the  party  only  on  the  day  of  the  National  Con- 
ference to  decide  on  coalition. 

Nor  did  the  arrival  of  Pierre  Frank,  the 
U.Sec.  representative,  one  day  before  the  Con- 
ference, give  any  added  strength  to  the  revolu- 
tionary tendency  that  had  through  its  own  ef- 
forts organised  for  the  final  confrontation.  And 
what  is  more,  when  the  revolutionary  tendency 
informed  Pierre  Frank  that  the  coalitionists 
(continued  next  page) 


16 


SPARTACIST 


 Ceylon 

were  certain  to  win  at  conference  and  that  the 
only  course  of  action  that  appeared  to  the  mi- 
nority as  correct  was  the  split  from  the  coali- 
tionists on  this  issue,  the  representative  of  the 
loSo  had  no  views  to  offer.  His  only  words  were 
—"that  is  for  you  to  decide!"  Thus,  contrary  to 
the  claims  of  the  LS.,  its  representative  would 
not  even  associate  himself  with  the  decision  of 
the  revolutionary  tendency  to  break  with  NoM. 
Perera,  Colvin  [Ro  de  Silva]  and  Leslie  [Guna- 
wardena]  when  they  took  the  road  of  open  be- 
trayal and  when  they  struck  a  frontal  blow  at 
the  World  Trotskyist  movement.  Of  course, 
later,  the  LS.  expelled  the  coalitionists  from 
the  International  and  recognised  the  LSSP(R) 
as  its  Ceylon  sectioho 

LSSP(R) 

The  task  before  the  LSSP(R)  was  to  draw  up 
a  full  balance  sheet  of  the  whole  of  the  LSSP 
experience  and  on  the  basis  of  these  lessons 
to  begin  the  building  of  the  revolutionary  party. 

But,  from  the  outset,  the  contradictions 
within  itself  made  it  impossible  for  the  LSSP(R) 
to  undertake  any  systematic  efforts  at  party 
building.  And  the  truth  about  the  opposition  that 
split  from  the  LSSP  in  June  1964  was  that  there 
were  four  groups. 

Karalasingham  Group 

A  basic  contradiction  in  the  LSSP(R)  arose 
from  the  Karalasingham  group. 

Within  the  left  opposition  in  the  LSSP  prior 
to  the  split  Karalasingham  gave  promise  of 
playing  an  important  role  in  the  struggle  against 
revisionism  and  for  the  building  of  the  revolu- 
tionary party.  Karalasingham  intervened 
sharply  against  the  coalition  line  of  the  LSSP 
leaders.  In  his  pamphlet  for  the  special  con- 
ference, which  later  he  included  in  his  book  on 
"Coalition  Politics,"  Karalasingham  effective- 
ly exposed  the  revisionism  of  the  LSSP  leaders 
especially  by  reference  to  Marxist  theory  and 
experience 

Significantly,  however,  from  the  outset 
Karalasingham  stood  categorically  opposed  to 
a  split  of  the  left  oppositionists  in  the  event  of 
the  acceptance  of  coalition  by  the  party  at 
special  conference.  Karalasingham  did  not 
clarify  his  perspectives  for  remaining  within 
the  LSSP  in  such  a  situation.  And,  on  the  other 
hand,  he  was  vehemently  opposed  to  any  attempt 
to  even  form  a  faction  when  this  was  mooted 


about  by  some  of  those  in  left-opposition  long 
before  the  proposal  of  coalition  was  made  by 
the  N.Mo  Perera  group.  And  undoubtedly,  the 
failure  to  organize  a  faction  by  the  revolution- 
ary tendency  on  a  platform,  which  would  have 
brought  out  clearly  the  differences  among  the 
oppositionists,  was  the  most  serious  mistake 
of  those  who  sought  to  fight  the  revisionism  of 
the  LSSP  leaders.  * 

Despite  his  orientation  in  this  regard,  Kara- 
lasingham, though  reluctantly,  joined  the  left- 
oppositionists  who  organised  themselves  as  the 
LSSP(R).  Karalasingham  did  not  reveal  his 
perspectives  in  regard  to  his  decision  to  be  in 
the  LSSP(R)o 

But  it  was  not  long  before  Karalasingham's 
motivation  became  manifest.  In  December  1964 
the  two  party  (LSSP-R)  M.P.'s  made  a  tactical 
mistake  on  the  issue  of  the  voting  on  the  Throne 
Speech  of  the  Coalition  government.  ^"^  Voting 
against  the  government  on  this  issue  was  not 
the  mistake.  The  LSSP(R)  CC  had  rightly  taken 
a  decision  to  vote  against  the  Throne  Speech. 
Their  mistake  was  that  they  voted  on  the  mo- 
tion of  the  Independent  (rightist)  Member 
Dahanayake.  As  a  result,  the  party  was  exposed 
to  the  attacks  of  the  coalitionists,  who  alleged 
that  the  LSSP(R)  M.P.'s  joined  the  UNP  and 
the  rightists  to  defeat  the  government.  That 
was  the  gravamen  of  the  charge  that  could 
justifiably  be  leveled  against  them. 

However,  Karalasingham.  took  the  opportun- 
ity to  launch  an  attack,  not  on  the  tactical  ques- 
tion but  on  the  question  of  the  principal  position 
of  the  party,  that  is  the  opposition  to  coalition 
politics.  Without  specifically  stating  so,  Kara- 
lasingham developed  his  attack  on  the  inde- 
pendent existence  of  the  LSSP(R).  His  first 
move  was  to  call  for  the  defeat  of  the  UNP  in 
the  election  that  was  due  (March  1965).  He 
further  proposed  that  the  party  call  for  support 
of  Sirima  Bandaranaike,  SLFP  leader,  in  her 
constituency.  The  next  step  was  the  organisa- 
tion of  a  pro-coalitionist  faction— the  "Sakthi 
group"— which  published  a  paper,  which  in 
direct  opposition  to  the  party  line  called  for 
support  publicly  for  a  SLFP -LSSP  government, 
to  replace  the  UNP  government  that  was  elected 
in  the  March  1965  elections. 

With  the  Healy  group  also  supporting  the 
Karalasingham-led  "Sakthi"  group,  it  was  no 


16  The  Throne  Speech,  given  by  the  prime  min- 
ister, presents  the  government  program  at  the 
beginning  of  a  parliamentary  term.  The  vote 
cast  by  a  party  on  the  Throne  Speech  is  an 
important  indication  of  that  party's  attitude 
toward  the  government. 


WINTER  1973-74 


17 


easy  task  for  the  revolutionary  tendency  to 
fight  successfully  these  revisionists,  especial- 
ly in  the  context  of  the  U.Sec.'s  calling  for 
tolerance  for  this  group.  Mandel  disagreed  with 
the  Provisional  Committee  of  the  LSSP(R)  when 
it  expelled  two  of  the  Karalasingham  coalition- 
ists who  were  responsible  for  the  "Sakthi" 
paper  and  were  not  ready  to  admit  that  they  had 
violated  party  discipline. 

That  Karalasingham's  perspective  when  he 
participated  in  the  organisation  of  the  LSSP(R) 
was  none  other  than  the  betrayal  of  the  left- 
oppositionists  to  the  LSSP  coalitionists  re- 
ceived confirmation  in  his  virtual  confessions 
in  the  introduction  to  his  book  "Senile  Left- 
ism—A reply  to  Edmund  Samarakkody,"  which 
he  produced  as  a  passport  to  enter  his  "paren- 
tal" party,  the  reformist  LSSP.  In  a  denuncia- 
tion of  the  leaders  of  the  LSSP(R)  for  their 
decision  to  split  from  the  reformists,  Karala- 
singham contended  that  "without  reference  to 
the  process  that  was  in  motion  within  the  LSSP, 
without  regard  to  the  consciousness  and  think- 
ing of  the  advanced  elements  in  the  mass  move- 
ment behind  the  LSSP  and  ignoring  the  deep 
divisions  in  their  own  ranks  between  the  United 
Secretariat  and  the  Healy  caucus,  they  arbi- 
trarily proclaimed  themselves  a  new  party." 
Thus  Karalasingham's  motivation  for  being  one 
of  the  mid-wives  of  the  "new  party,"  was  to 
strangle  it  at  its  birth' 

While  Karalasingham  sought  to  say  that  the 
split  in  1964  was  too  premature  and  that  he  had 
a  perspective  of  fighting  the  coalitionists  from 
within,  his  real  orientation  was  revealed  in  the 
very  next  paragraph:  "The  political  tendency 
to  which  the  writer  belongs  has  decided  to  re- 
join the  parent  organisation."  So  it  was  a  case 


THE  TIMES  OF  CEYLON 

Philip  Gunawardena,  S.A.  Wickremasingfie 
(CP)  and  N„M.  Perera  in  1963. 


of  the  prodigal  son  returning  to  the  parental 
home  not  to  continue  his  feud  with  the  parents 
but  to  ask  their  forgiveness  for  his  own  past 
sins  and  to  remain  a  loyal  member  of  the 
parental  home.' 

Nor  did  Karalasingham  fail  to  give  the  "mis- 
guided" or  "senile  leftists"  of  the  LSSP(R)  the 
benefit  of  his  superior  understanding  of 
Leninism-Trotskyism:  "Equally  importantpo- 
litical  considerations  have  made  this  neces- 
sary." He  then  quotes  from  the  Sakthi  which 
he  claimed  as  his  factional  paper . . . 

"But  between  the  regime  of  imperialism  and  the 
compradore  bourgeoisie  which  exists  today  and 
the  definite  regime  of  the  dictatorship  of  the 
working-class,  it  is  likely  that  there  would  be  a 
sequence  of  intermediate  regimes  initially  re- 
flecting the  very  backwardness,  and  subse- 
quently in  consequence  of  the  growing  political 
maturity  of  the  masses,  representative  of  the 
more  advanced  elements ,  Whatever  be  the  man- 
ner of  the  down  fall  of  the  UNP  government, 
so  long  as  it  is  the  result  of  the  new  mass  up- 
rising, it  can  be  stated  that  its  successor  would 
be  the  government  of  the  SLFP-LSSP  coalition. 
The  untimely  defeat  of  the  coalition,  and  that 
too  at  the  hands  of  the  class  enemy  of  the 
working-class,  has  placed  a  coalition  govern- 
ment of  this  type  on  the  order  of  the  day. 
"But  genuine  revolutionaries,  far  from  being 
dismayed  by  such  a  development— viz:  that  a 
SLFP-LSSP  coalition  should  replace  the  UNP's 
national  government,  would  do  everything  to 
facilitate  its  formation. ..." 

"Therefore,"  concluded  Karalasingham,  "the 
place  of  all  serious  revolutionaries  today  is  in 
the  LSSP,  so  that  in  participating  fully  in  the 
task  ahead  they  could  intervene  energetically, 
when  the  inevitable  class  differentiation  of  the 
mass  movement  takes  place," 

Karalasingham  thus  unmasked  himself.  This 
is  nothing  else  than  the  Stalinist  "two-stage 
theory"  with  the  projection  of  the  transitional 
regimes  of  coalition  with  the  so-called  national 
or  liberal  bourgeoisie.  With  the  tradition  of 
LSSP  opposition  to  this  so-called  theory  of  the 
Stalinists,  the  N.Mo's  [Perera]  and  the  Leslies 
[Gunawardena]  and  now  Karalasingham  could 
not  give  this  designation  to  their  "theory"  and 
acknowledge  Joseph  Stalin  as  their  "Marxist" 
mentoro  But  in  any  event  now,  the  hoUowness 
of  Karalasingham's  claims  to  Marxist  theory, 
his  audacity  in  invoking  the  authority  of  Lenin 
and  Trotsky  in  his  attempt  to  mask  his  reform- 
ism and  his  unbreakable  links  with  coalition 
politics  and  revisionism,  stood  exposed. 

But  even  this  complete  unmasking  of  him- 
self by  Karalasingham  did  not  prevent  the 
Mandels  and  Franks  from  inviting  him  to  par- 
(continued  next  page) 


18 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Ceylon 

ticipate  in  the  9th  World  Congress  in  1968, 
several  months  after  he  had  been  re -admitted 
to  the  reformist  LSSPl 

Tampoe  Group 

The  CMU^''  leader  Tampoe  showed  no  in- 
terest in  the  buildingof  a  revolutionary  leader- 
ship c  His  main  preoccupation  was  the  building 
of  himself  as  atrade-union  leader  whilst  talking 
"revolution."  What  Tampoe  wanted  was  to  use 
the  LSSP(R)  to  give  himself  a  coloration  as  a 
revolutionary  trade-union  leader.  And  in  his 
trade  union  he  was  the  boss  who  maintained 
excellent  relations  with  the  employers,  mainly 
the  imperialist  agency  houses,  while  staging 
"token  strikes"  with  the  usual  demonstrations 
and  public  meetings,  at  which  Tampoe  was  in- 
variably the  only  speaker. 

Trotskyists  in  Ceylon  could  not  hope  to  take 
even  the  first  steps  in  the  task  of  building  the 
revolutionary  leadership  without,  among  other 
matters,  effecting  a  sharp  break  with  the  trade - 
union  reformist  politics  which  was  a  heritage 
from  the  LSSP.  In  fact  Tampoe's  break  with  the 
LSSP  was  to  free  himself  for  closer  relations 
with  the  employers  and  with  all  bourgeois  gov- 
ernments including  the  UNP  for  concessions  for 
workers  in  the  CMU. 

And  it  was  Tampoe's  rightist  trade-union 
politics  that  led  him  to  oppose,  in  the  Provision- 
al Committee  of  the  LSSP(R),  the  proposal  to 
develop  the  struggle  against  the  UNP  govern- 
ment on  the  concrete  issues  of  the  declaration 
of  state  of  emergency  (1966)  and  the  police 
shooting,  the  victimization  of  workers  for  the 
strike  (communal)  led  by  the  coalitionists,  the 
cut  in  the  rice  ration  in  the  latter  part  of  the 
year  followed  by  the  devaluation  of  the  rupee  at 
the  dictates  of  the  IMF. 

Tampoe  even  supported  the  declaration  of 
the  state  of  emergency  (January  1966)  in  a 
letter  he  sent  to  Prime  Minister  Dudley  Senana- 
yake.  Tampoe  opposed  joint  (united-front)  ac- 
tion with  other  trade  unions  against  the  UNP 


17  The  Ceylon  Mercantile  Union  (CMU)  is  a 
medium-sized  union  of  government  employees, 
■white  collar  workers  and  miscellaneous  other 
office  employees.  Led  by  Bala  Tampoe  of  the 
LSSP(R),  it  was  one  of  the  few  important 
unions  standing  outside  the  federations  led  by 
the  by- now  thoroughly  reformist  LSSP  and  pro- 
Moscow  and  pro- Peking  Stalinists. 


government  on  the  issue  of  the  victimization 
of  the  workers  after  the  January  8  (1966) 
strike. 

However,  the  Tampoe  group  maintained 
friendly  relations  with  both  the  Karlo  [Karala- 
singham]  coalitionist  group  and  with  the  Healy- 
ites,  Healy's  special  envoy,  Mike  Banda,  paid 
several  visits  to  Ceylon  in  his  attempt  to  win 
over  Tampoe  to  Healy.  The  SLL  press  gave 
Tampoe  headline  publicity  for  his  two-hour 
token  strikes  which  he  called  out  on  chosen 
occasions. 

The  break  away  of  Karlo  coalitionists 
from  the  LSSP(R)  found  the  revolutionary 
tendency  (Meryl  [Fernando],  D.S.  Mallawar- 
atchi,  [Tulsiri]  Andrade,  Edmund  [Samarak- 
kody])  opposed  by  the  Tampoe- Healy ite  alli- 
ance. Their  common  objective  was  to  oust  the 
revolutionary  tendency  from  its  position  of 
leadership  within  the  LSSP(R).  And  with  regard 
to  the  Healyites,  disruption  of  the  LSSP(R)  and 
not  the  building  of  a  revolutionary  party,  was 
their  chief  preoccupation. 

Despite  the  efforts  of  the  unprincipled 
Tampoe -Healy ite  combination  to  disrupt  the 
LSSP(R)  there  was  a  real  possibility  for  the 
revolutionary  tendency  to  win  against  these 
opportunists  and  rightists,  but  for  the  part 
played  by  Mandel  and  the  leaders  of  the  United 
Secretariat. 

As  previously,  Mandel  followed  his  policy  of 
conciliationism,  at  first  with  the  Karlo  coali- 
tionists, and  thereafter  with  the  rightist  trade - 
union  leader  Tampoe  whose  30,000  strong  CMU 
and  token  strikes  and  demonstrations  could 
provide  occasional  headline  news  of  "Trotsky- 
ist  militant  struggles  in  Ceylon"  in  the  journals 
of  the  United  Secretariat. 

It  was  thus  that  Mandel  and  the  leaders  of  the 
United  Secretariat  closedtheir  eyes  to  the  poli- 
tics of  the  split  in  1968  of  the  RSP  (now  RWP)  i8 
from  the  Tampoe-led  LSSP(R)  and  adopted  the 
Tampoe  group  as  the  Ceylon  section  of  the 
United  Secretariat,  despite  the  fact  that  a  com- 
mission appointed  at  the  open  sessions  of  the 
9th  World  Congress  unanimously  condemned 
the  politics  of  Tampoe .i9  Here  are  some  rele- 
vant extracts  of  this  report: 

"The  Commission  felt  that  some  of  the  actions 


18  The  Revolutionary  Samasamaja  Party  (RSP), 
which  at  a  convention  in  late  1972  changed  its 
name  to  the  Revolutionary  Workers  Party 
(RWP). 

19  For  further  information  on  the  attempted 
cover-up  of  the  Tampoe  scandal  by  the  U.Sec. 
see  "The  Case  of  Bala  Tampoe"  in  Spartacist 
No.  21,  Fall  1972. 


WINTER  1973-74 


19 


and  policies  of  Com.  Bala  [Tampoe]  and  the 
LSSP{R)  brought  toour  notice  by  Com.  Edmund, 
and  not  denied  by  Com.  Bala,  could  have  ser- 
iously damaged  the  reputation  of  Com.  Bala  as 
a  revolutionary  leader,  compromised  the 
Fourth  International  in  Ceylon  and  have  been 
exploited  by  all  the  enem'ies  of  our 
movement. . . . 

"The  evidence  placed  before  the  Commission 
tends  to  support  the  conclusion  that  the  poli- 
cies followed  by  Com.  Bala,  especially  in  his 
dual  role  as  CMU  Secretary  and  as  LSSP(R) 
Secretary  were  gravely  compromising  to  the 
4th  International.  The  Commission  was  not  in  a 
position  to  get  a  clear  enough  picture  of  the 
policies  of  Com.  Bala  in  the  concrete  circum- 
stances of  Ceylon  and  the  LSSP(R)  to  propose 
that  this  section  be  disaffiliated  by  the  World 
Congress.  But  we  strongly  feel  the  need  for  the 
further  investigation  of  this  matter." 

Despite  this  devastating  condemnation  of 
Tampoe  and  his  politics  unanimously  by  its  own 
Commission,  the  9th  World  Congress,  which 
was  manipulated  throughout  by  the  bureaucratic 
leaders— the  Mandels,  Franks  and  theLivios— 
accepted  Tampoe's  group  as  the  Ceylon  Section 
and  decided  to  file  the  report  of  the  Ceylon 
Commission'  Incidentally,  for  alleged  security 
reasons,  the  leaders  of  the  United  Secretariat 
decided  to  abruptly  end  the  Conference  allow- 
ing only  a  half  hour  (I)  to  the  discussion  of  the 
Ceylon  question. 

It  was  clearly  not  possible  for  the  Mandels, 
Pierre  Franks,  the  Livios  and  the  Hansens  to 
reconcile  their  acceptanceof  the  Tampoe  group 
as  their  Ceylon  section  with  their  claim  to  be 
Leninists -Trotskyists.  And  that  is  why  they 
vised  one  "Vitarne"  as  their  tool  to  "dispose  of" 
the  question  by  merely  denying  that  there  was 
any  Commission  at  all  on  the  Ceylon  question 
at  the  9th  Congress.  For,  if  there  was  no  Com- 
mission there  could  not  be  a  report  to  talk 
about!  But  it  is  relevant  in  this  regard  to  ask 
why  the  leadership  of  the  U.Sec.  (Mandel, 
Pierre  Frank,  Livio  and  Hansen)  allowed  a  per- 
son who  was  not  a  member  of  the  Fourth  Inter- 
national, a  mere  observer  and  an  outsider,  who 


had  been  invited  among  several  such  persons  to 
this  Congress,  to  report  on  the  truth  of  what 
took  place  at  the  9th  World  Congress  in  regard 
to  the  Ceylon  question  and  the  Tampoe  group. 
We  are  certain  that  this  question  will  remain 
unanswered  by  the  leaders  of  the  United 
Secretariat. 

Tampoe  Group  Since  1969 

The  orientation  of  the  United  Sec- 
retariat as  manifested  in  the  documents 
and  decisions  of  the  9th  Congress,  and 
Tampoe's  real  aims  left  no  future  for  the 
Tampoe  group  to  develop  as  a  viable  political 
formation  whether  linked  to  the  right- 
opportunist  wing  led  by  the  Hansens  and  No- 
vacks  or  the  ultra -left  opportunist  wing  led  by 
the  Livios,  Mandels  and  Franks  of  the  U.Sec. 

The  question  has  been  and  remains— "who  is 
using  whom?"  Is  it  the  case  that  the  Mandel 
wing  of  the  U.Sec.  is  using  Tampoe  to  further 
their  aims— i.e.  to  have  a  large  trade  union 
in  Ceylon,  through  whose  boss  Tampoe,  to  get 
the  United  Secretariat  an  appearance  of  a  strong 
base,  though  in  reality  without  substance;  or  is 
it  that  Tampoe  is  using  the  Mandels,  Franks 
and  Livios  to  further  his  own  interests  as  a 
trade-union  boss-type  leader? 

The  reality  is  that  there  is  no  political  party 
or  even  a  group  that  functions  independently  as 
the  LSSP(R).  The  LSSP(R)  has  no  political 
activity  to  its  credit  ever  since  the  RSP  split 
in  1969.  It  has  long  ago  ceased  to  publish  even 
an  occasional  newspaper. 

With  the  rise  of  the  JVP^o  youth  movement 
Tampoe,  apparently  with  the  approval  of  the 
Mandels,  sought  to  opportunistically  associate 
with  Rohana  Wijeweera^i  and  other  leaders 
who  were  visibly  growing  in  popularity.  In  order 
to  win  a  place  for  himself  at  a  time  when  this 
movement  did  not  give  any  indications  of  pre- 
paring any  confrontation  with  the  coalition  gov- 
ernment, Tampoe  rushed  to  befriend  them  in 
the  courts  during  the  first  days  of  police  action 

(continued  next  page) 


20 The  Janatha  Vikmuthi  Peramuna  (JVP-Peo- 
ples  Liberation  Front),  a  Guevarist  organiza- 
tion of  student  and  peasant  youth",  led  a  large- 
scale  youth  revolt  in  the  Sinhalese  rural 
areas  in  the  spring  of  1971  which  was  directed 
against  the  coalition  government  of  the  SLFP, 
LSSP  and  CP  (Moscow).  In  a  remarkable 
demonstration  of  counterrevolutionary  soli- 
darity, the  government  was  aided  by  the  U.S., 
Britain,  the  USSR,  India,  Pakistan  and  Egypt, 
while  China  gave  its  explicit  political  endorse- 
ment of  the  bloody  repression  of  the  uprising! 

21  Wijeweera  is  a  former  member  of  the  pro- 


Moscow  CP  who  had  begun  organizing  the 
JVP  in  1966,  building  a  large  following  among 
university  students  and  unemployed  graduates. 
His  own  politics  were  essentially  "insurrec- 
tionary Stalinism"  of  the  Guevarist  type.  As 
Comrade  Sa ma rakkody  noted  in  "Politics  of  De- 
ceit," ".  .  .the  JVP  had  completely  discounted 
the  plantation  workers  (largely  of  Indian  Tamil 
origin)  and  that  it  did  not  have  any  position  on 
the  burning  question  of  the  Tamil  minority— 
their  language  and  other  rights.  .  .  .Sinhalese 
chauvinism  was  clearly  evident  in  their 
politics," 


20 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Ceylon 

against  themo  Tampoe  even  went  so  far  as  to 
give  a  certificate  to  Wijeweera  that  he  was  no 
communalist  and  that  he  was  a  true  Marxist, 
when  he  knew  well  that  ex-Stalinist  Rohana 
Wijeweera  was  consciously  seeking  to  win  over 
the  Sinhalese  petty  bourgeois  through  his  talk  of 
the  need  to  fight  so-called  Indian  expansionism. 

However,  when  the  police  were  hot  on  the 
trails  of  the  JVP,  Tampoe  judiciously  moved 
away  from  the  JVP  and  took  a  vow  of  silence 
during  the  period..  And  when  the  murderous 
campaign  of  the  government  against  the  youth 
was  on,  during  which  thousands  were  killed  by 
shooting  or  torture,  Tampoe  had  lost  his  voice. 
While  within  the  first  week  of  this  campaign 
against  the  youth  the  RSP  (now  RWP)  un- 
equivocally condemned  the  actions  of  the  gov- 
ernment, demanded  the  end  to  kiflings  and 
torture,  and  also  invited  the  trade  unions  in- 
cluding the  CMU  to  communicate  their  views  in 
this  regard,  Tampoe  continued  to  remain 
silent. 

However,  when  it  appeared  quite  safe, 
Tampoe  very  late  in  the  day  appealed  to 
the  Prime  Minister  that  "it  would  be  an 
act  of  inhumanity  for  you  to  order  a  con- 
certed military  offensive  by  the  armed 
services  against  the  insurgents,"  etc. 

And,  as  it  happens  in  periods  of  crisis,  it 
was  not  easy  for  Tampoe  to  indulge  even  in 
tilting  at  wind=mills  especially  under  emer- 
gency conditions.  It  was  thus  that  Tampoe  did 
not  move  a  finger  during  the  100 -day  strike 
of  the  bank  clerks,  led  by  the  Bank  Employees 
Union,  whose  leader  was  Oscar  Perera,  a 
member  of  the  LSSP(R).  Tampoe  failed  to  take 
the  initiative  to  get  trade-union  action  in  sup- 
port of  this  strike.  He  only  reluctantly  partici- 
pated in  a  joint  trade-union  meeting  organised 
on  the  initiative  of  the  RSP  (now  RWP)  leader 
Tulsiri  Andrade  of  the  Central  Bank  Union. 
He  thereafter  washed  his  hands  of  this  strike 
and  silently  watched  this  strike  being  smashed 
by  the  coalition  government  supported  espe- 
cially by  the  LSSP.' 

Healy  Group 

Having  kept  aloof  from  the  politics  of  the 
LSSP  from  the  time  of  the  1953  split  of  the 
International,  the  leader  of  the  so-called  In- 
ternational Committee  and  of  the  SLL,  Gerry 
Healy,  parachuted  himself  into  the  Ceylon  scene 
in  June  1964.  Having  arrived  in  the  same  plane 
with  Pierre  Frank  a  day  before  the  LSSP  con- 


ference, Healy,  who  had  a  few  followers  in 
the  LSSP  opposition,  sought  to  gate-crash  into 
the  conference  hall  of  the  LSSP.  Of  course,  he 
was  not  permitted  to  enter. 

What  Healy's  politics  were  in  relation  to  the 
issues  at  the  conference  was  unknown.  Nor  did 
he  seek  to  place  his  views  before  the  LSSP 
membership  through  documentation  prior  to  the 
conference.  Instead,  what  he  sought  to  do  was 
to  take  the  left  opposition  into  the  fold  of  the 
International  Committee  by  disruption. 

It  was  this  same  line  of  disruption  that  his 
followers—Prins  Rajasooriya  (now  with  Tam- 
poe), Sydney  Wanasinghe  (nowwiththe  LSSP  co- 
alitionists), Wilfred  Perera  and  R.S.Baghavan 
pursued.  It  was  thus  that  the  Healy  group  gave 
full  co-operation  to  the  Karlo  coalitionists  to 
fight  the  revolutionary  tendency.  In  fact,  a 
section  of  the  Healy  group  actively  participated 
in  the  organisation  of  the  Karlo  faction,  "the 
Sakthi  group, "  which  in  their  factional  paper 
publicly  called  for  the  support  of  a  coalition 
government. 

Nor  were  the  Healyites  strange  bed-fellows 
with  the  Karlo  coalitionists.  While  denouncing 
the  Mandels  and  the  Franks  for  the  betrayal 
of  the  LSSP  leaders,  and  while  also  denouncing 
the  [Edmund]  Samarakkody-Meryl  Fernartdo 
group  for  advocating  united-front  action  to  in- 
clude the  coalition  trade  unions  against  the 
victimisation  by  the  UNP  government,  the  local 
Healyite  "theoretician"  Wilfred  Perera  was  in 
fact  pursuing  coalition  politics. 

Here  is  a  sample  of  Wilfred  Perera's  theory 
which  he  put  out  in  1967  during  the  UNP 
regime. 

"We  should  propose  to  the  rank  and  file  of  the 
left  parties  [referring  to  LSSP  and  CP]  and  of 
the  trade-unions  under  their  control  to  bring 
pressure  on  the  Left  party  leaders  to  demand— 

"1.  a  revision  of  the  Joint  Program  [coali- 
tion program]  so  as  to  include  working-class 
demands  and  socialist  measures  [I],  and  that 
the  demands  should  be  formulated  by  a  united 
front  of  the  trade-unions.  And  we  should  make 
our  own  proposal  regarding  the  demands; 

"2.  a  more  equitable  apportionment  of  the 
parliamentary  seats  for  the  next  election,  say 
on  a  50-50  basis  as  between  the  SLFP  and  the 
left  parties. 

"The  first  demand  will  show  how  far  Mrs. 
Bandaranaike  is  prepared  to  go  towards  social- 
ism, and  at  the  same  time  expose  the  impotence 
of  the  left  fakers  to  push  her  leftwards.  The 
second  will  show  how  sincere  Mrs.  Bandaran- 
aike is  when  she  says  she  needs  the  co- 
operation of  the  working-class  to  defeat  the 
UNP-led  coalition." 

Advocating  coalition  politics  could  not  be  more 


'WINTER  1973-74 


21 


explicit  than  this'. 

In  this  "theory"  Wilfred  Perera  left  the  road 
open  to  a  link  up  with  Tampoe  whose  syndical- 
ism he  correctly  denounced  in  an  earlier  part 
of  the  same  document. 

It  was  the  contention  of  theHealy  "theoreti- 
cian" that  they  supported  the  resolution  of  the 
Tampoe  group  (1967  Conference)  as  against  the 
Samarakkody  group  inorder  to  "save"  the  party 
from  the  pro-coalition  line  of  the  latter!  That 
was  Wilfred  Perera's  justification  for  support- 
ing the  syndicalism  of  Tampoe,  which  he  ex- 
plained as  the  meaning  of  his  (Tampoe 's)  line 
of  "unification  of  the  working-class  under  its 
own  independent  class  banner":  "We  see  here," 
wrote  Wilfred  Perera,  "the  illusions  fostered 
by  a  blind  faith  in  trade -union  militancy  with- 
out political  perspectives  and,  a  lack  of  under- 
standing of  the  political  issues  involved." 

But  here  is  a  sample  of  Wilfred  Perera's 
own  syndicalism  cum  coalition  politics  in  this 
same  document: 

"The  left  fakers  say  they  can  achieve  social- 
ism by  parliamentary  means.  Let  them  prove  it 
by  breaking  their  ties  with  the  SLFP  which  are 
hindering  them  and  make  a  bid  for  govern- 
mental power  on  their  own  and  on  a  working- 
class  program  which  the  trade-unions  will 
jointly  formulate.  In  place  of  the  coalition  pro- 
gram we  will  propose  a  trade-union  joint 
program"  [I], 

Healy  Group  Since  the  Split 

Having  helped  the  Tampoe  rightists  to  defeat 
the  revolutionary  tendency  at  the  1968  (April) 
Conference,  which  led  to  the  split  away  of  the 
latter  tendency  and  the  formation  of  the  RSP 
(now  RWP),  the  Healy  group  found  its  task  in 
the  LSSP(R)  was  over.  Without  any  explanation 
for  their  conduct  the  Healyites  led  by  Wilfred 
Perera  broke  away  from  Tampoe,  whom  they 
had  helped  to  install  as  leader  of  the  LSSP(R). 

Claiming  that  the  mantle  of  Trotskyism  had 
fallen  on  them,  the  Healyites  announced  their 
separate  organisation,  the  Revolutionary  So- 
cialist League, 

From  the  outset  however,  the  policies  and 
practice  of  this  league  were  at  variance  and  in 
conflict  with  the  program  of  Trotskyism.  Whilst 
their  reputed  leader  Healy,  of  the  so-called 
International  Committee,  continues  to  rightly 
castigate  the  Mandels  and  the  Pierre  Franks 
for  their  responsibility  for  the  LSSP  debacle, 
the  RSL  (the  Ceylon  Unit  of  this  Healyite  IC) 
called  for  and  supported  the  SLFP-LSSP-CP 
coalition  in  the  elections  of  May  1970,  the  out- 
come of  which  was  the  present  SLFP-led  coali- 
tion government. 


The  Healyites  were  thus  consistent  with 
their  policy  within  the  LSSP(R),  when  they  com- 
pacted with  the  Karalasingham-led  coalition- 
ists, who  in  their  factional  paper  "Sakthi" 
called  for  supportof  the  SLFP-LSSP-CP  coali- 
tion. However,  the  RSL  suddenly  somersaulted. 
About  two  months  after  the  coalition  govern- 
ment was  formed  (May  1970),  when  sections  of 
the  masses  that  supported  these  parties  were 
expressing  their  disappointment  at  the  policies 
of  the  government,  the  Healy  group  announced 
that  they  had  made  a  mistake  when  they  sup- 
ported the  coalition  at  the  elections. 

The  new  line  of  the  Healyites,  which  they 
claimed  was  in  accordance  with  Leninism- 
Trotskyism,  is  their  call  to  the  LSSP  and  CP 
to  break  away  from  the  coalition  and  form  a 
government.  Of  course,  they  had  with  them 
the  history  book  of  the  Russian  revolution. 
Apparently,  with  confidence,  they  referred  to 
the  Bolshevik  experience  in  1917,  when  in 
the  special  conditions  and  in  the  context  of  a 
revolutionary  situation,  Lenin  called  upon  the 
Mensheviks  and  Social  Revolutionaries  to  break 
with  the  bourgeoisie  and  take  the  power. 

But  in  the  hands  of  the  Healyites  it  was  a 
complete  misapplication  of  the  Bolshevik  tac- 
tic. The  concretisation  of  the  slogan  "workers 
and  farmers  government"  through  a  govern- 
ment of  the  LSSP  and  CP  is  a  farcical  concept 
apart  from  the  disorientation  that  such  a  slogan 
rtiust  lead  to.  There  is  no  revolutionary  or 
pre -revolutionary  situation  in  Ceylon.  It  is 
not  possible  today  to  attempt  a  concretisation 
of  the  slogan  workers  andpeasants  government, 
that  is,  to  indicate  which  organisation  of  the 
working  class  and  toilers  could  constitute  the 
new  power  or  government. 

On  the  contrary,  the  consciousness  of  the 
masses  is  at  a  stage  when  they  are  only  ser- 
iously dissatisfied  and  disappointed  with  the 
coalition  government.  Of  course  sections  of 
these  masses  are  moving  into  opposition 
against  the  government  without  any  perspec- 
tives yet  of  any  struggle  against  this  govern- 
ment. The  working  class,  whose  living  stan- 
dards are  being  systematically  attacked  by  the 
coalition  government,  has  not  yet  launched  any 
large-scale  trade-union  action  against  the  poli- 
cies of  this  government.  In  fact,  in  the  absence 
of  a  revolutionary  party,  with  influence  among 
the  working  class,  it  is  possible  that  the  masses 
including  sections  of  the  working  class  could 
well  move  in  a  rightist  direction. 

What  is  imperative  today  is  to  help  the 
working  class  and  toilers  to  understand  that 
the  blows  struck  against  their  living  standards 
(continued  next  page) 


22 


SPARTACIST 


.  • .  Ceylon 

are  the  result  of  the  treacherous  politics  of 
coalition— i.e.  of  the  LSSP  and  CP  betrayers. 
Those  claiming  to  be  Trotskyists  cannot  con- 
ceive of  helping  to  create  further  illusions  that 
the  way  forward  is  a  labour  government  of  the 
LSSP-CP  which  must  necessarily  be  reformist 
in  character.  But  this  is  just  what  the  Healyite 
slogan  does. 

And,  in  regard  to  this  slogan,  it  is  necessary 
once  more  to  state  what  Trotsky  himself  cate- 
gorically stated— "The  slogan  'workers  and 
farmers  government'  is  thus  acceptable  to  us 
only  in  the  sense  that  it  had  in  1917  with  the 
Bolsheviks,  i.e.,  as  an  anti-bourgeois  and 
anti-capitalist  slogan,  but  in  no  case  in  that 
'democratic'  sense  which  later  the  epigones 
gave  it,  transforming  it  from  a  bridge  to  so- 
cialist revolution  into  the  chief  barrier  upon 
its  path." 

Struggle  (or  Trotskyism  Today 

Having  participated  in  the  left  opposition 
(1962)  as  consistent  oppositionists  to  the  coali- 
tion and  reformist  politics  of  the  LSSP  leaders 
who  betrayed  the  party,  having  continued  the 
struggle  against  the  Karalasingham  coalition- 
ists in  the  LSSP(R),  having  successfully  faced 
the  combined  opposition  of  the  Healyites  and 
Tampoe,  who  was  supported  by  the  Pabloist 
United  Secretariat,  the  revolutionary  tendency 
that  separated  from  these  centrists,  and  which 
re-grouped  itself  as  the  Revolutionary  Sama- 
samaja  Party,  is  today  reorganised  as  the 
Revolutionary  Workers  Party. 

During  the  first  two  years  the  revolutionary 
tendency  had  the  task  of  drawing  up  a  proper 
balance  sheet  of  the  experience  of  the  LSSP 
and  the  LSSP(R)  and  to  cleanse  itself  of  the 
hangovers  of  Pabloism,  which  substituted  em- 
piricism and  pragmatism  for  dialectical  ma- 
terialism and  which  abandoned  the  task  of 
building  the  revolutionary  party  to  the  partici- 
pation and  "integration"  in  the  so-called  living 
movement  of  the  masses,  leading  the  Pabloites 
to  parliamentarism  and  syndicalism.  The  Rev- 
olutionary Workers  Party  cannot  but  reject  the 
politics  of  both  wings  of  the  United  Secretariat— 
the  ultra-left  opportunist  mixture  of  Mandel, 
Livio,  Frank,  as  well  as  the  opportunist  group 
of  Hansen-Novack. 

While  seeking  to  participate  with  its  co- 
thinkers  in  the  unpostponable  task  of  re- 
grouping of  the  Trotskyists  in  other  countries 
in  the  perspective  of  contributing  to  the  re- 


building of  the  revolutionary  International,  the 
Revolutionary  Workers  Party  is  bending  its 
energies  to  the  construction  of  the  Trotskyist 
party  in  Ceylon  on  the  firm  foundations  of  the 
Transitional  Program  of  the  Fourth  Inter- 
national and  the  relevant  programmatic  docu- 
ments that  remain  the  heritage  of  the  Leninist- 
Trotskyist  movement. 

Present  Situation 

Objective  conditions  today  are  more  favour- 
able than  ever  before  for  the  development  of 
mass  struggle  for  the  overthrow  of  capitalist 
class  rule  in  Ceylon  and  for  the  establishment 
,of  socialism. 

World  capitalism  has  entered  into  a  new 
period  of  decline,  reflected  for  a  long  time  now 
in  economic  recessions  in  advanced  capitalist 
countries,  leading  to  fierce  inter-imperialist 
rivalry,  which  has  driven  the  capitalist  class 
in  each  country  to  impose  severe  burdens  on  the 
workers  and  the  wage  earners  in  these 
countries. 

For  nearly  a  decade  now  the  organised 
working  class  in  these  advanced  countries  has 
been  engaged  in  wage  struggles  to  defend  their 
living  standards.  The  French  working  class 
showed  in  their  now  famous  struggle  (1968)  the 
revolutionary  potentialities  of  the  proletariat  in 
these  advanced  capitalist  countries. 

An  aspect  of  this  new  phase  of  decline  of 
capitalism  on  a  world  scale  is  that  Ceylon  and 
other  backward  countries  are  more  intensely 
exploited  by  imperialism  in  numerous  ways. 
The  economies  in  these  countries,  ruled  in- 
variably by  the  bonapartist  "national"  bour- 
geois regimes,  face  deepening  crises,  mani- 
fested by  unbalanced  budgets  and  serious  lack 
of  foreign  exchange  to  pay  for  necessary  im- 
ports, leading  to  increased  burdens  on  the 
workers  and  toilers.  The  masses  in  these 
countries,  despite  the  betrayals  of  the  Stalin- 
ists, reformists  and  centrists,  must  sooner  or 
later  move  on  to  the  road  of  struggle. 

Three  years  of  the  SLFP-LSSP-CP  coali- 
tion government  have  brought  unprecedented 
suffering  to  the  working  class  and  all  the  toil- 
ers. While  extending  the  state  sector  without 
any  real  encroachment  on  the  private  capi- 
talists, while  appearing  to  strike  blows  at  the 
capitalists  and  imperialists,  the  government 
is  desperately  seeking  to  maintain  the  profit 
levels  of  these  very  same  capitalists  and  im- 
perialists, at  the  dictates  of  the  IMF. 

In  this  perspective,  this  government  adopted 
a  policy  of  severe  restriction  of  consumer  im- 
ports and  has  even  totally  banned  the  imports 
of  a  large  number  of  essential  food  imports, 


WINTER  1973-74 


23 


which  has  led  to  serious  inflation.  Also,  at  the 
dictates  of  the  IMF,  the  government  is  imple- 
menting a  virtual  wage  freeze.  And  since  the 
April  youth  armed  struggle,  a  state  of  emer- 
gency continues  and  strikes  are  virtually 
bannedo  The  repressive  apparatus  of  the  State 
has  been  strengthened  in  an  unprecedented 
manner. 

The  reality  today,  especially  with  the  newest 
blows  struck  at  the  masses  by  further  cuts  in 
rationed  rice,  flour  and  sugar,  and  also  by 
further  increase  of  the  price  of  these  and 
numerous  other  commodities,  is  that  the  gov- 
ernment is  facing  increasing  unpopularity.  This 
means,  that  from  now  on,  sections  of  the  mass- 
es who  supported  and  identified  themselves  with 
the  government  will  inevitably  move  away  from 
the  coalition  parties  and  the  government.  There 
is  now  a  real  possibility  of  developing  mass 
opposition  leading  to  mass  action  against  the 
measures  of  the  government  and  the  govern- 
ment itself. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  rightist  forces  led 
by  the  UNP  are  even  now  growing  as  a  result 
of  the  policies  of  the  government,  which  have 
in  an  unprecedented  way  impoverished  the 
masses  and  increased  their  misery. 

Up  to  now  the  working  class  has  been  held 
down  from  pressing  their  demands  in  the 
perspective  of  trade-union  action,  principally 
by  the  LSSP  and  CP— the  partners  in  coalition, 
on  the  pretext  of  the  need  for  the  workers  to 
sacrifice  and  produce  more  for  "Socialism." 

While  "sacrifice"  was  the  key  note  of  the 
LSSP  propaganda,  the  CP  (pro-Moscow)  led 
by  the  [S.A.]  Wickremasinghe  wing  had  adopted, 
from  the  outset,  more  opportunistically,  a 
critical  stance  in  relation  to  the  policies  of 
the  government  which  affected  adversely  the 
living  standards  of  the  workers  and  toilers. 

With  the  severity  of  the  government's 
measures  against  the  masses,  the  CP(M)  be- 
came more  "critical"  and  called  upon  the 
government  not  to  increase  the  burdens  of  the 
masses,  but  instead,  to  strike  at  the  imperial- 
ists and  to  move  on  to  more  nationalisations. 

The  motivation  of  the  CP(M),  Wickrema- 
singhe wing,  was  not  to  weaken  the  coalition 
but  to  gather  the  coalition  masses  around  it- 
self as  the  most  "progressive"  and  "dynamic" 
force  in  the  coalition.  However,  unexpectedly 
for  the  Wickremasinghe -led  CP,  despite  its 


22  The  International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade 
Unions  (ICFTU),  formed  in  December  1949 
under  the  sponsorship  of  U.S.  American  Fed- 
eration of  Labor  leaders,  was  a  CIA-backed 
international  center  for  a nti- communist  un- 
ions. The  CIO  immediately  entered  it,  accept- 


expressions  of  continued  loyalty,  the  coalition 
partners,  SLFP  and  LSSP,  in  furtherance  of  the 
rightward  course  of  their  government,  have 
shown  them  the  door.  This  wing  of  the  CP(M) 
has  been  expelled  from  the  coalition 
government. 

In  response  to  the  pressures  of  the  rank 
and  file  of  their  trade  unions,  the  bureaucratic 
leaders  of  the  LSSP  and  the  Keneuman  wing  of 
the  CP(M)  have  sought  to  give  themselves  the 
appearance  of  being  in  readiness  to  lead  the 
workers  in  struggle  to  defend  their  living  stand- 
ards. They  have  recently  presented  through  the 
coalition  trade  union  centre  (JCTU)  twenty- 
eight  (28)  demands  to  the  employers  and  their 
own  government. 

The  fraudulent  nature  of  the  moves  of  the 
LSSP  trade-union  leaders  as  well  as  both  wings 
of  the  Stalinists  (CP  [Moscow])  already  stands 
exposed  by  their  defense  of  the  coalition  gov- 
ernment in  regard  to  the  latest  measures  (Oc- 
tober 1st  cuts  in  rationed  rice,  flour  and  sugar 
with  increase  of  prices).  Far  from  seeking  to 
mobilise  the  workers  for  struggle,  they  are 
vying  with  each  other  in  calling  upon  the  work- 
ers for  further  sacrifices  in  a  so-called  na- 
tional food  crisis. 

In  the  plantation  sector  the  two  largest  trade 
unions  are  the  CWC  (Ceylon  Workers 
Congress-led  by  Thondaman)  and  CDC  (Ceylon 
Democratic  Congress-led  by  Aziz,  allied  to  co- 
alition). As  an  extreme  right  wing  trade-union 
leader,  who  has  affiliation  with  the  U.S.- 
oriented  IC  FTU,  22  Thondaman  ha  s  been  threat- 
ening to  launch  trade-union  action  to  win  the 
monthly  wage  demand  for  the  plantation  work- 
ers. However,  Thondaman  and  some  lesser  un- 
ion leaders  allied  to  him  have  already  aban- 
doned all  talk  of  strike  action  at  the  appeal  of 
the  Minister  of  Labour. 

With  regard  to  Tampoe,  his  usual  fake  fight- 
ing has  been  displayed  now  quite  for  sometime. 
With  the  assistance  of  his  centrist  friends  of 
the  United  Secretariat  Tampoe  obtained  pub- 
licity in  their  journals  for  a  "One-Day  Hunger 
Strike"  of  workers  in  protest  at  the  actions 
and  policies  of  the  government.  In  fact,  during 
all  this  time,  workers  in  a  number  of  work 
places  belonging  to  other  non-coalition  unions 
came  out  on  strike  despite  the  possibilities  of 
government  action  against  them.  It  was  thus  a 
(continued  next  page) 


ing  CIA  funds  in  the  process.  Many  of  the 
ICFTU  unions  had  earlier  been  part  of  the 
Stalinist- dominated  World  Federation  of  Trade 
Unions  and  their  split  was  one  of  the  first 
steps  of  the  "Cold  War"  launched  by  U.S. 
imperialism. 


24 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Ceylon 

false  picture  which  Tampoe  sought  to  paint,  that 
where  no  one  dared  to  call  strikes  under  emer- 
gency conditions,  he  at  least  called  a  "Hunger 
Strike"  of  workers  against  the  government!  In 
fact,  the  journals  of  the  United  Secretariat  had 
referred  to  a  "Hunger  Strike"  of  one  million 
workers.'  But  this  so-called  one -day  hunger 
strike  was  farcical. 

The  response  from  vested  interests  was 
especially  interesting.  In  its  editorial  com- 
ments of  the  Ceylon  Daily  News  which  congratu- 
lated Tampoe  on  this  one-day  non-violent 
"Hunger  Strike,"  called  upon  him  to  continue 
longer  this  strike  as  Finance  Minister  N.M, 
Perera  himself  would  readily  approve  in  view 
of  the  worsening  food  situation  in  the  country! 

And  Tampoe 's  reaction  to  the  talk  of  pre- 
senting "twenty-eight  demands"  of  the  coali- 
tion unions  was  to  call  his  usual  "short  leave" 
strike  (2 -hour  strike)  for  a  mass  rally  of  the 
CMU  at  which  he  was  the  only  speaker,  and  at 
which  he  called  upon  Ceylon's  working  class  to 
abandon  the  coalition  and  other  trade -union 
leaders  and  adopt  the  banner  of  the  CMU! 

Tampoe's  political  line  in  the  present  con- 
text is  the  same  treacherous  line  of  "Left 
Unity"  that  the  LSSP  and  CP  peddled  before 
they  finally  adopted  coalition  with  the  SLFP. 
Tampoe  has  issued  a  call  to  "Re-Buildthe  Left 
Movement"  when  what  is  imperative  is  to  con- 
sistently and  uncompromisingly  expose  the 
"Leftism"  of  the  LSSP,  of  both  wings  of  the 
CP(M),  of  the  groups  of  the  CP(Peking)  and  all 
other  "left"  fakers.  It  is  the  task  of  the  revolu- 
tionary vanguard  to  expose  the  fraudulent  poli- 
tics of  Tampoe  which  he  continues  in  the  name 
of  Trotskyism. 

The  revolutionary  vanguard  has  the  task  of 
exposing  both  the  fraud  of  the  CP(M)  Wickrema- 
singhe  wing  which  continues  to  peddle  coalition 
class- collaborationist  politics  and  also  the 
rightist  course  which  the  SLFP  and  LSSP  are 
pursuing  to  please  the  vested  interests,  local 
and  foreign. 

It  is  necessary  more  especially  to  warn  the 
working  class  that  the  coalition  government  is 
now  moving,  not  to  woo  the  working  class,  but 
to  suppress  and  destroy  the  trade -union  move- 
ment and  all  the  organisations  of  the  working 
class,  which  could  well  pave  the  way  for  a  fully 
fledged  military  police  regime. 

It  is  clear  that  in  the  present  state  of  the 
trade-union  leadership,  both  of  the  pro- 
government  coalition  unions  and  of  the  so- 
called  independent  unions,  the  task  of  mobili- 


sing the  workers  for  united  struggle  against  the 
government  and  the  capitalist  class  is  far  from 
easy.  Nevertheless,  this  remains  the  burning 
question  for  the  working  class  today.  This 
means  it  is  the  task  of  the  revolutionary  van- 
guard to  begin  now  the  struggle  against  the 
latest  measures  of  the  government  and  for 
other  pressing  demands  of  the  workers  and 
toilers  including  demands  of  a  transitional 
character,  in  the  teeth  of  the  opposition  of  the 
bureaucratic  trade-unionleaders— of  the  coali- 
tion as  well  as  of  the  so-called  independent 
unions,  including  the  Tampoe-led  CMU. 

In  fact,  in  recent  times  anti-bureaucratic 
tendencies  have  appeared  in  many  trade  unions 
both  pro- government  and  in  others.  In  certain 
unions  the  anti-bureaucratic  oppositions  have 
succeeded  in  ousting  the  conservative  and  bu- 
reaucratic leaderships  in  such  unions.  This 
process  could  well  grow. 

The  revolutionary  vanguard,  while  taking 
active  steps  to  root  itself  within  the  working 
class  will  fight  for  a  program  of  demands 
which  will  include  trade -union  demands  and 
also  demands  of  a  transitional  character,  e.g., 
nationalisation  without  compensation  of  the 
whole  of  the  plantations,  of  manufacturing  in- 
dustries, workers  control  in  all  nationalised 
undertakings.  It  will  also  include  demands  for 
the  withdrawal  of  the  state  of  emergency  and 
for  the  release  of  a;il  political  prisoners.  In 
this  regard  the  tradition  of  reformists  and  cen- 
trists has  been  to  merely  list  transitional  de- 
mands without  seeking  to  develop  any  struggle 
around  these  demands. 

It  is  in  this  perspective  that  the  Revolution- 
ary Workers  Party  is  seeking  today  to  inter- 
vene in  the  Ceylon  situation.  And  it  is  not  the 
futile  and  divisive  policy  of  building  new  trade 
unions  that  is  needed,  but  a  policy  of  giving 
revolutionary  perspective  and  bringing  revolu- 
tionary politics  to  the  advanced  elements  in  the 
existing  trade  unions,  by  the  building  of  political 
caucuses  in  them;  that  is  the  task. 

This  intervention  by  the  Revolutionary 
Workers  Party  is  necessarily  limited  by  its 
present  forces  and  resources.  But  it  is  to  the 
extent  that  the  Revolutionary  Workers  Party 
succeeds  in  intervening  in  the  living  working 
class  and  mass  movement  in  a  revolutionary 
perspective,  and  to  the  extent  that  it  succeeds 
in  carrying  on  an  uncompromising  and  con- 
sistent struggle  against  Stalinism,  Maoism  and 
all  forms  of  reformism  and  revisionism, 
whether  of  the  United  Secretariat  variety  or  of 
the  Healy  variety,  that  it  will  be  able  to  engage 
with  success  in  the  struggle  for  Trotskyism, 
for  the  buildingof  the  revolutionary  leadership, 
i.e.  the  revolutionary  party,  in  Ceylon.  ■ 


WINTER  1973-74 


25 


usee 

Covers  Up 

Tampoe 

Scandal 

In  the  19  March  1973  issue  of  Intercontinental  Press 
(Vol.  11,  No.  10)  there  appeared  an  article  entitled 
"Ceylon  and  the  Healy  School  of  Falsification"  by 
Jaya  Vithana.  It  purports  to  be  a  defense  against 
alleged  slanders  against  Bala  Tampoe  (head  of  the 
Ceylon  section  of  the  "United  Secretariat  of  the  Fourth 
International")  emanating  from  the  Healyite  press, 
i.e.,  a  series  of  articles  in  the  Socialist  Labour 
League's  Workers  Press  partially  reprinted  in  the 
Bulletin  of  the  U.S.  Workers  League.  The  Vithana 
article  is  a  typical  piece  of  revisionist  obscurantism 
in  which  is  concealed  one  giant  lie:  a  denial  of  the 
legitimacy  of  1  documents  of  the  United  Secretariat 
itself  which  were  reprinted  originally  in  Spartacist 
No.  21.  As  usual,  the  unprincipled  organizational  con- 
duct of  the  Healyites  provided  the  U.Sec  Pabloists  a 
convenient  way  to  get  themselvesoff  the  hook— almost. 

Tampoe  Unmasked  by  Spartacist 

A  bit  of  history  is  in  order.  Last  year  the  Sparta- 
cist League  drew  the  attention  of  the  international 
working-class  movement  to  the  United  Secretariat's 
shameless  cover-up  of  a  series  of  accusations  brought 
against  Bala  Tampoe  by  its  own  supporters  at  the 
U.Sec. 's  "Ninth  World  Congress"  held  in  April  1969. 
In  Spartacist  No.  21  we  published  a  majority  report 
("Ceylon  Commission  Report")  and  a  minority  report 
("Indian  Delegate's  Report")  from  the  Ceylon  Com- 
mission of  the  "World  Congress"  as  well  as  extracts 
from  the  official  "World  Congress"  minutes  which 
verified  the  fact  of  the  Ceylon  Commission  while 
totally  suppressing  its  content.  These  documents  were 
made  available  to  us  by  Edmund  Samarakkody,  a 
veteran  Ceylonese  socialist  militant  now  associated 
with  the  RWP  of  Ceylon,  at  whose  insistence  the  Cey- 
lon Commission  was  convened.  Comrade  Samarakkody 
was  at  that  time  a  member  of  the  outgoing  International 
Executive  Committee  of  the  U.Sec.  We  also  published 
Comrade  Samarakkody 's  letter  to  us  authenticating  the 
documents  and  explaining  the  events  surrounding  the 
Ceylon  Commission  at  the  "World  Congress." 

It  is  not  surprising  that  the  publication  of  these 
documents  initiated  a  world-wide  furor.  The  two  re- 
ports came  to  somewhat  different  conclusions,  but 
only  over  the  question  of  what  to  do  about  Tampoe  in 
the  face  of  specific  allegations  whose  reliability  the 
Commission  did  not  at  any  point  call  into  question: 
Tampoe's  acceptance  of  a  trip  to  the  U.S.  in  1967 
financed  by  the  Asia  Foundation;  Tampoe's  private 


interview  in  Washington  with  McNamara;  Tampoe's 
attendance  at  small  social  gatherings  of  imperialist 
diplomats;  Tampoe's  conduct  as  head  of  the  Ceylon 
Mercantile  Union.  * 
The  "Worlci  Congress"  agreed  on  a  series  of  rec^ 
ommendations  which  reaffirmed  Tampoe's  LSSP(R)  as 
the  Ceylon  section  but  also  called  for  the  constituting 
of  an  investigative  body  as  well  as  for  the  termination 
of  Tampoe's  dual  function  as  head  of  both  the  CMU  and 
the  LSSP(R).  (We  have  no  information  as  to  whether  the 
former  was  ever  carried  out,  but  the  latter  certainly 
was  not.)  In  our  view,  however,  what  made  the  Tampoe 
scandal  important  was  not  merely  the  unmasking  of  a 
politically  corrupt  individual  posing  as  a  Trotskyist, 
but  the  full  complicity  of  the  U.Sec,  which  published 
only  the  evasive  recommendations  of  the  Commission 
while  suppressing  the  uncontested  facts,  as  contained 
in  the  reports  upon  which  the  recommendations  were 
based. 

Healyites  Muddy  the  Waters 

Almost  immediately  upon  publicationof  these  docu- 
ments in  Spartacist,  the  political  bandits  of  the  Healy 
tendency  rushed  forward  to  try  to  claim  the  Tampoe 
scandal  as  their  own  "scoop."  The  Ceylon  Commission 
reports  and  the  extracts  from  the  "World  Congress" 
minutes  filled  the  pages  ot' Workers  Press,  along  with 
sundry  additional  charges  against  Tampoe.  The  re- 
sponse of  the  U.Sec.  and  its  American  ally,  the 
Socialist  Workers  Party,  was  predictable.  Making  full 
use  of  the  Healyites'  world-wide  and  well-deserved 
reputation  for  irresponsible  slander  and  physical 
gangsterism,  these  revisionist  cynics—well  aware  of 
the  authenticity  of  the  documents  as  well  as  of  the  fact 
that  they  had  been  first  revealed  in  Spartacist,  a 
publication  well  known  for  its  scrupulous  honesty  and 
accuracy— sought  to  pass  off  their  own  "World  Con- 
gress" reports  as  just  another  Healyite  slander  (see 
"Healyites  Smear  Bala  Tampoe,"  Intercontinental 
(continued  next  page) 


SPARTAOST 

(Fourth  Internationalist) 

AN  ORGAN  OF 
REVOLUTIONARY  MARXISM 

EDITORS:  Managing,  Elizabeth  Gordon;  James 
Robertson;  Joseph  Seymour. 

BUSINESS  MANAGER:  Anne  Kelley. 

Published  for  the  Central  Committee  of  the 
Spartacist  League/U.S.  by  the  Spartacist  Pub- 
lishing Company,  Box  1377,  G.P.O.,  New  York, 
N.Y.  10001.  Telephone:  925-8234. 

Opinions  expressed  in  signed  articles  or  letters 
do  not  necessarily  express  the  editorial  view- 
point. 


Number  22  :«$  x  523  Winter  1973-74 


26 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Tampoe  Scandal 

Press,  20  November  1972).  Faced  with  such  a  chal- 
lenge, the  Healyites  were  compelled  to  acknowledge 
the  source  of  the  material,  trumpeting  about  Samarak- 
kody's  credentials  and  even  once  or  twice  mentioning 
Spartacist,  But  Healy  had  already  played  into  the  hands 
of  the  U.Sec,  allowing  the  real  evidence  against 
Tampoe  to  be  dismissed  as  coming  from  a  tarnished 
source  rather  than  from  suppressed  documents  of 
Tampoe's  collaborators,  the  U.Sec.  itself. 

Havir^  once  been  given  a  handle,  the  Pabloists  are 
understandably  unwillir^  to  let  go.  Their  final  smoke- 
screen, the  Vithana  article— which  is  apparently  in- 
tended as  the  definitive  response— devoted  eight  pages 
in  Intercontinental  Press  to  an  all-out  barrage. 
Vithana  replied  at  length  to  various  charges  against 
the  Ceylonese  Pabloists  emanating  from  the  Healyites 
themselves  (we  must  note  in  passing  that  there  is  no 
response  at  all  to  our  accusations  against  Tampoe's 
conduct  following  the  "World  Congress"  which  were 
published  in  Spartacist,  based  on  materials  of  the 
Ceylonese  RWP,  as  part  of  an  introduction  to  the  U.Sec. 
documents)  and  he  exposes,  quite  possibly  accurately, 
the  unprincipled  conduct  of  the  Ceylon  Healyites.  But 
concealed  beneath  all  this  is  the  essence  of  the  U.Sec. 's 
response  to  the  publication  of  the  Ceylon  Commission 

:  documents— a  flat  denial  of  their  authenticity. 

"   And  the  attempted  bluff  falls  flat  on  its  face.  For 


INTERNMIONAL 
IHFOR»MIOM  BUllETIM 


r.nnttnte 

„n.TESO.  THE  ™«.«S  SINCE  H..~.0. 
(Ninth  World  ConsreBs) 
April  1969 


ternatlonsl) 


SOCIAIIST  WORKERS  PARTY 


Vithana  attempts  to  disprove  too  much. 

Aware  that  the  copies  of  the  original  Ceylon  Com- 
mission reports  were  collected  back  from  the  partici- 
pants, and  thus  that  the  only  written  proof  they  ever 
existed  is  the  copies  made  by  Comrade  Samarakkody 
for  his  own  use,  Vithana  begins  by  slandering  Comrade 
Samarakkody  and  declaring  these  reports  a  fabrication: 
"What  is  the  'evidence'  against  comrades  Bala  and 
others?  It  goes  as  follows:  (i)  Reports  alleged  to  have 
been  made  by  a  'commission'  of  the  United  Secretar- 
iat of  the  Fourth  International. . . .  The  first  of  these 
lies  the  Healyites  borrowed  from  the  Spartacists  of 
the  USA,  who  recently  published  a  series  of  allega- 
tions against  Comrade  Bala  Tampoe.  They  were  made 
by  Mr.  Edmund  Samarakkody. . . ." 
We  must  point  out  here  Vithana 's  sleight-of-hand 
in  attributing  the  "allegations"  against  Tampoe  only  to 
Samarakkody,  whereas  in  fact  his  central  accusations 
were  verified  and  repeated  in  the  reports  of  the  Ceylon 
Commission  published  in  Spartacist.  Thus,  in  his  im- 
passioned denials  of  various  "allegations"  against 
Tampoe,  Vithana  waxes  indignant  about  "slanders"  by 
Comrade  Samarakkody  and  the  Spartacist  League,  but 
neglects   to   mention  that  these    "slanders"  were 
in  fact  the  findings  of  the  U.Sec. 's  own  Commission'. 
It  was  the  Ceylon  Commission  Report,  reprinted  in 
Spartacist,  which  said: 

"The  Commission  felt  that  some  of  the  actions  and 
policies  of  Comrade  Bala  and  the  LSSP(R)  brought  to 
our  attention  by  Comrade  Edmund  and  not  denied  by 
Comrade  Bala  could  have  seriously  damaged  the  repu- 


"•■•loo  i„4         b«.n  .bj,  tj^*"""*  Co.- 


„  Continuation 

=o-i..io.  ..a?f^-5j:;|»,-?. 


IK. 


the  next  IHt 


c'o^^r^^.''^'»"""•"o^'?ro^ 


°'  =°"»'"ion  r.po„  b, 

"''^'^  'OP 
S..,ion  recon».Md. 
Cb-lntM,  Oor.1., 


"ten  la  vlei^^of  on«I  .^temporai-j 


O"  public  jo^„Jf 
«W^pIbU°°"t;""         '■"'"trmlc  rr„, 

.pfu'°  "•-^"Tp".".i?f:  .„^orh^^ 

"■•PortJ^'iiJiO"  'Jo  *rg.ntin.  Conui.., 


WINTER  1973-74 


27 


tation  of  Comrade  Bala  as  a  revolutionary  leader  

In  this  context,  we  refer  especially  to  the  following 
examples:— (a)  A  series  of  incidents  which  together 
constitute  compromisingly  close  relations  between 
Comrade  Bala  and  the  Ceylonese  embassies  or  mis- 
sions of  the  imperialist  countries  "  (our  emphasis) 

it  was  the  Indian  Delegate's  Report  which  said: 

"Although  Comrade  Bala  maintains  that  he  had  kept 
the  United  Secretariat  and  SWP  informed  about  his 
trip,  some  of  his  activities  in  Washington  like  his  in- 
terview with  McNamara  have  not  been  fully  explained." 
It  was  the  Ceylon  Commission  Report  which,  referring 
to  "the  subordination  of  the  policies  of  the  LSSP(R)  to 
the  union  [Tampoe's  CMU],"  stated  categorically  that; 
"...  in  none  of  these  instances  is  there  any  evidence 
that  the  party  took  what  the  Commission  considered 
a  policy  consistent  with  revolutionary  Marxism." 
Let  Vithana  and  his  U.Sec.  colleagues  try  to  squirm 
out  of  that  with  protestations  about  Spartacist  League 
"slanders": 

Giant  Bluff  Fails 

Short  of  taking  decisive  and  immediate  action  to 
oust  Tampoe  as  a  renegade  and  an  individual  demon- 
stratedly  unfit  to  be  a  leader  of  even  the  revisionist 
U.Sec— a  course  the  U.Sec.  rejected  when  it  sup- 
pressed the  content  of  the  reports  themselves— the  only 
alternative  remaining  for  these  fake-Trotskyists  was 
to  invoke  the  deservedly  foul  reputation  of  the  Healy- 
ites,  sling  mud  wildly  at  Samarakkody  and  the  Sparta- 
cist League  and  deny  everything.  This  was  the  thank- 
less task  which  fell  to  Vithana.  Accordingly,  he  writes: 
"Was  there  such  a  report  as  Healy  and  his  friends 
claim?  In  fact  Mr.  Samarakkody  claims  that  there 
are  two  such  reports,  a  minority  and  a  majority  re- 
port. In  fact  the  USFI  appointed  no  such  commission. 
Nor  is  there  such  a  report  or  reports."  (our  emphasis) 
Vithana  has  overreached  himself.  Had  he  confined 
himself  to  the  one  enormous  lie  that  there  were  not 
reports,  the  issue  might  have  to  be  judged— as  many 
issues  must  be  judged  in  real  political  life—solely  on 
the  basis  of  political  logic  and  the  reputation  and 
record  of  the  contendir^  parties.  Were  this  the  case, 

woRkeits  1 

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we  would  have  to  point  out  again  such  corroborating 
evidence  as  the  fact  that  the  operational  conclusions  of 
the  majority  report  as  published  in  Spartacist  are 
identical  to  the  five  recommendations  of  the  Ceylon 
Commission  as  published  in  the  "World  Congress" 
official  minutes.  We  would  have  to  ask  whether  it  is 
likely  that  the  "World  Congress"  would  have  recom- 
mended that  Tampoe  terminate  either  his  role  as  head 
of  the  Ceylon  Mercantile  Union  or  his  leadership  of  the 
LSSP(R)  unless  some  gross  political  irregularities  at 
least  on  this  point  had  been  demonstrated  to  the 
satisfaction  of  all  Commission  participants.  We  would 
have  to  point  to  the  whole  pattern  of  conduct  of  the 
U.Sec.  and  its  predecessor  body  in  Ceylon,  And  we 
would  still  be  entirely  justified  in  demanding  that  pro- 
fessed Trotskyists  take  a  stand  on  the  basis  of  the 
available  evidence  and  denounce  any  who  would  hide 
their  political  complicity  behind  know-nothingism  and 
the  cynical  bourgeois  aphorism  that  "the  truth  is 
always  somewhere  in  between." 

But,  caught  up  in  the  technique  of  the  big  lie,  Vithana 
has  gone  one  step  further,  thereby  reducing  his  cred- 
ibility below  zero:  he  has  denied  that  the  Ceylon  Com- 
mission ever  took  placel  But  in  his  eagerness  to  bury 
the  Tampoe  scandal  once  and  for  all,  Vithana  has  run 
smack  up  against  the  "World  Congress"  minutes  them- 
selves, which  reported  the  constitution  of  a  Ceylon 
Commission,  noted  a  verbal  report  from  the  Com- 
mission and  a  discussion  and  reprinted  a  five-part 
motioni  (The  relevant  extracts  from  the  minutes  were 
reprinted  in  Spartacist  No.  21).  In  fact,  these  minutes 
are  available  to  any  SWP  member  possessing  a  back 
file  of  SWP  internal  bulletins,  (see  SWP  International 
Information  Bulletin  No.  9,  July  1969)  and  presum- 
ably to  members  of  other  organizations  associated 
with  or  affiliated  to  the  U.Sec.  Thus,  like  Tampoe— 
exposed  by  the  reports  of  his  own  "World  Congress" 
—Vithana  stands  condemned  as  a  liar  by  the  official 
minutes  of  his  own  organization: 

We  can  only  echo  Vithana's  sentiments  that  "History 
has  strange  ways  of  unmasking  slanderers  and  liars 
in  the  working-class  movement":  ■ 


SM  Young 
Spaitacus 

™  Orgon  of  the  Revolutionary  Communist  Youth, 
youth  soctlon  of  the  SfMrtocItt  League 

Formerly  the  RCY  NEWSLETTER 


Name. 


Address. 


City /State/Zip. 


^feifl         Make  payable/mail  to: 

RCY  Newsletter  Publisliing  Co. 

6  ISSUES  Cooper  Station 

New  York,  New  York  10003 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Letter  to  OCRFI 

(continued  from  page  32) 

elaborated  on  this  conception  over  the  German  crisis 
of  1929-33  and  also  in  his  discussions  withSWP  lead- 
ers in  1940  regarding  an  approach  by  the  SWP  to  the 
Communist  Party  U.S.A. 

The  united  front  is  nothing  more  than  a  means,  a 
tactic,  by  which  the  revolutionary  party,  i.e.  its  pro- 
gram and  authority,  can  in  times  of  crisis  mobilize 
and  then  win  over  masses  (at  that  time  supporters  of 
other  parties)  by  means  of  concrete  demands  for  com- 
mon action  made  to  the  reformist  organizations.  Any 
other  interpretation  must  base  itself  on  a  supposed 
latent  revolutionary  vanguard  capacity  within  the  re- 
formist or  Stalinist  parties  themselves— a  central 
proposition  of  Pabloism. 

The  aim  of  the  united  front  must  be  to  embed  the 
revolutionary  program  in  the  masses.  In  the  same  way, 
in  the  highest  expression  of  the  united  front,  the  Sovi- 
ets, the  condition  for  their  conquest  of  power  is  the 
ascendency  of  the  revolutionary  program.  Any  form 
of  fetishism  toward  the  mere  form  of  united  fronts  or 
Soviets  (or  for  that  matter  toward  trade  unions  or  fac- 
tory committees)  means  abdicating  as  revolutionists, 
because  at  bottom  it  is  the  dissolution  of  the  vanguard 
party  into  the  class  through  the  substitution  of  such 
forms  (and  other  politicsl)  for  the  role  of  the  revolu- 
tionary party.  This  is  not  Leninism  but  at  best  a  var-. 
iant  of  Luxemburgism.  One  of  Lenin's  greatest 
achievements  in  counterposing  the  revolutionary  van- 
guard to  the  reformists  was  to  transcend  the  Kautsky- 
ian  conception  of  "the  party  of  the  whole  class."  To 
place  emphasis  upon  some  mass  form  at  the  expense 
of  the  vanguard  party  would  be  to  smuggle  back  in  the 
Kautskyian  conception. 

When  erstwhile  revolutionary  forces  are  qualita- 
tively weak  in  comparison  to  mass  reformist  or  Stal- 
inist parties  it  is,  in  ordinary  circumstances,  equally 
illusory  either  to  make  direct  "united  front"  appeals 
to  the  large  formations  or  to  advocate  combinations 
among  such  large  forces  (when  Trotsky  called  for  the 
united  front  between  the  SPD  and  KPD  he  believed  that 
the  latter  still  had  a  revolutionary  potential). 

Certainly  the  tactics  appropriate  to  a  full-fledged 
revolutionary  party  cannot  be  mechanically  assigned 
to  a  grouping  qualitatively  lacking  the  capacity  to  strug- 
gle to  take  the  leadership  of  the  class.  However,  the 
differences  in  functioning  are  in  the  opposite  direction 
from  those  projected  by  the  OCI.  To  the  extent  that  the 
revolutionary  tendency  must  function  as  a  propaganda 
league,  the  more  it  must  stress  the  presentation  of  its 
full  program.  As  Trotsky  noted,  in  the  first  instance 
Bolshevism  is  built  upon  granite  foundations,  and  ma- 
neuvers can  only  be  carried  out  in  a  principled  fashion 
upon  that  foundation.  The  united  front  of  the  working 
class,  of  course,  is  the  maneuver  on  the  grand  scale. 

(2)  Bolivian  FOR:  We  do  not  believe  that  the  POR's 
participation  in  the  emigre  Revolutionary  Anti -Impe- 
rialist Front  (FRA)  fell  from  the  skies.  We  agree  with 
the  OCI  and  the  OCRFI  resolution  that  the  FRA-creat- 
ed  following  the  coup  of  the  rightist  general  Banzer, 
incorporating  elements  of  the  "national  bourgeoisie" 
including  General  Torres— is  a  popular  front  and  not 
the  continuation  of  the  Popular  Assembly,  which  may 


have  possessed  the  essential  formal  prerequisites  to 
be  a  proletarian  soviet  pole  in  opposition  to  the  earlier 
regime  of  the  leftist  general  Torres.  It  appears  to  us 
that  in  the  period  of  the  Torres  regime  the  best  that 
can  be  said  of  the  POR  is  that  it  subordinated  the  de- 
velopment of  the  vanguard  party  to  that  of  the  Popular 
Assembly,  i.e.  subordinated  the  revolutionary  program 
to  an  ill-defined  and  vacillating  collection  of  left  na- 
tionalist and  Stalinist  political  prejudices.  Given  the 
default  of  revolutionists,  thePopular  Assembly  neces- 
sarily concretely  possessed  a  core  of  Menshevist  ac- 
quiescence to  the  "national  bourgeoisie."  For  further 
elaboration,  see  Workers  Vanguard  No.  3.  In  our  es- 
timation the  POR's  earlier  policy,  which  the  OCRFI 
resolution  emphatically  supports,  is  an  embodiment 
of  the  erroneous  conception  of  a  "strategic  united 
front"  and  demonstrates  the  resulting  subordination  of 
the  vanguard  organization  to  the  mass  organization, 
in  this  case  to  the  Popular  Assembly.  - 

Prolonged  periods  of  repression  there  have  severe- 
ly limited  our  knowledge  of  or  contact  with  the  Bolivian 
POR,  but  it  appears  to  us  on  the  basis  of  available  evi- 
dence that  the  organization  has  played  a  characteris- 
tically centrist  role  at  least  as  far  back  as  the  revo- 
lutionary upheaval  in  1952. 

(3)  Stalinism:  We  note  that  in  the  past  the  OCI  has 
tended  to  equate  the  struggle  against  imperialism  with 
the  struggle  against  Stalinism,  e.g.  the  slogans  ad- 
vanced at  the  1971  Essen  Conference.  The  general  Po- 
litical Resolution  submitted  by  the  OCI  and  adopted  by 
the  OCRFI  takes  this  equation  one  step  further  when  it 
denies  the  "double  nature"  of  the  Stalinist  bureaucracy, 
writing  of  it  simply  as  "the  organism  of  the  bourgeoisie 

SL/RCY 

Public  Offices 


REVOLUTIONARY 
LITERATURE 


^AY  AREA 

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WINTER  1973-74 


29 


within  the  working-class  movement."  Perhaps  the  OCI 
has  been  led  to  this  false  formulation  through  a  sim- 
plistic linear  extension  of  the  true  and  valuable  insight 
that  the  class  struggles  of  the  workers  cut  across  the 
"Iron  Curtain." 

To  us,  and  we  believe  to  Trotsky,  the  Stalinist  bu- 
reaucracy has  a.\ contradictory  character.  Thus  in  1939 
it  conciliated  Hitler  and  undermined  the  defense  of  the 
Soviet  Union.  But  beginning  in  1941  it  fought  (badlyl) 
against  the  Hitlerite  invasion.  Thus  our  wartime  policy 
was  one  of  revolutionary  defensism  toward  the  Soviet 
Union,  i.e,  to  fight  against  the  imperialist  invader  and 
to  overthrow  the  bureaucracy  through  political  revolu- 
tion, with  by  no  means  the  least  aim  being  to  remove 
the  terrible  bureaucratic  impediment  in  that  fight.  In 
the  Indochinese  war  the  role  of  the  Hanoi  bureaucracy, 
and  our  attitude  toward  it  and  the  tasks  of  the  Viet- 
namese proletariat,  are  essentially  the  same. 

In  the  SWP's  1953  factional  struggle,  the  Cannon- 
Dobbs  majority  sought  to  defend  itself  against  the 
Cochran-Clarke  Pabloist  minority  by  putting  forth  a 
position  (similar  to  that  of  the  OCRFI),  that  the  Stalin- 
ist bureaucracy  is  "counter-revolutionary  through  and 
through  and  to  the  core."  Since  this  was  a  possibility 
truly  applicable  only  to  capitalist  restorationist  ele- 
ments, in  their  most  extreme  form  either  fascist  or 
CIA  agents,  the  SWP  majority  was  compelled  to  commit 
a  host  of  political  blunders  in  attempting  to  defend  its 
formulation;  and  in  fact  this  position,  along  with  Can- 
non's advocacy  of  federated  internationalism,  repre- 
sented departures  from  Trotskyism  which  helped  un- 
dermine the  revolutionary  fibre  of  the  SWP. 

Also  in  this  connection  we  note  the  OCI's  analysis 
of  Cuba  in  La  Verity  No.  557,  July  1972.  The  OCI's 
refusal  -  to  draw  the  conclusion  from  its  analysis— 
which  until  that  point  parallels  our  own— that  Cuba, 
qualitatively,  is  a  deformed  workers  state  indicates 
the  potential  departure  from  the  Leninist  theory  of  the 
state  in  favor  of  a  linear,  bourgeois  conception  as  of  a 
thermometer  which  simply  and  gradually  passes  from 
"bourgeois  state"  to  "workers  state"  by  small  incre- 
ments without  a  qualitative  change.  Such  a  methodology 
is  a  cornerstone  of  Pabloism.  According  to  this  concep- 
tion, presumably  the  reverse  process  from  "workers" 
to  "bourgeois"  state  by  small  incremental  shifts  could 
be  comparably  possible,  Trotsky  correctly  denounced 
this  latter  idea  as  "unwinding  the  film  of  reformism 
in  reverse."  We  note  however  that  the  OCI  appears  in- 
consistent on  the  characterization  of  the  Cuban  state; 
"The  Tasks  of  Rebuilding  the  Fourth  International" 
(in  La  Correspondance  Internationale,  June  1972,  page 
20)  calls  for  the  "unconditional  defense  of  the  Soviet 
Union,  China,  Cuba,  of  workers'  conquests  in  Eastern 
Europe,  of  the  revolutionary  war  in  Vietnam. ..." 

(4)  On  the  Youth:  We  note  that  the  relation  of  the 
OCI  to  the  Alliance  des  Jeunes  pour  le  Socialisme  is 
unprecedented  in  the  history  of  Leninist  practice  and, 
in  fact,  represents  a  catering  to  petty-bourgeois  dual 
vanguardist  sentiment  in  the  student  milieu.  We  also 
oppose  the  subsidiary  concept  of  a  non-Trotskyist 
"Revolutionary  Youth  International"  put  forward  at  the 
Essen  Conference  in  July  1971.  The  revdlutionary 
youth  movement  must  be  programmatically  subordin- 
ate and  formally  organizationally  linked  to  the  vanguard 
party,  which  encompasses  the  historic  experience  of 
the  proletariat.  Unless  this  is  the  case,  student  and 


youth  militants  can  never  transcend  petty -bourgeois 
radicalism  which  at  crucial  times  the  proletarian  van- 
guard will  find  counterposed  to  itself. 

(5)  Violence  and  the  Class  Lme:  We  strongly  oppose 
the  OCI's  stated  willingness  to  use  the  bourgeois  state 
apparatus— the  courts— to  mediate  disputes  in  the 
working-class  movement.  In  addition,  the  SL/U.S.  is 
unalterably  opposed  to  the  use  of  physical  force  to 
suppress  the  views  of  other  working-class  tendencies 
where  that  is  the  central  issue,  such  as  the  OCI's 
forcible  prevention  of  the  distribution  of  leaflets  by 
the  IKD  at  the  July  1971  Essen  Conference.  We  are 
not  pacifists,  and  fully  recognize  the  right  of  self- 
defense  by  ourselves  or  anyone  else  in  the  socialist 
and  labor  movements  to  protect  meetings  and  demon- 
strations froni  physical  assault  and  to  protect  indivi- 
dual militants  from  terroristic  attack.  Taken  all  to- 
gether, our  view  flows  from  the  proposition  that  the 
greatest  free  play  of  ideas  within  the  workers  move- 
ment strengthens  the  position  of  revolutionists  and 
enhances  the  possibility  for  united  class  action.  Con- 
versely, it  is  the  reformists  and  Stalinists— the  labor 
lieutenants  of  capital— who  most  characteristically 
employ  violence  and  victimization  within  the 
movement. 

(6)  International  Committee:  The  OCRFI  resolu- 
tion, "On  the  Tasks  of  the  Reconstruction  of  the  Fourth 
International,"  states  that,  starting  in  1966,  the  SLL 
"started  down  the  same  path  which  the  SWP  had  pre- 
viously taken."  But  further  on,  the  resolution  deplores 
the  "explosion  of  the  IC  caused  by  the  SLL,"  on  the 
grounds  that  this  latest  split  "aggravates  the  disper- 
sion" which  began  in  1952.  We  consider  that  organiza- 
tional forms  should  correspond  to  political  realities. 
We  strongly  opposed  the  break  by  the  SLL  ("IC")  with 
us  in  1962  because  of  its  apparently  mainly  organiza- 
tional character.  Only  after  the  very  sharp  rupture  at 
the  1966  London  Conference,  and  especially  in  the 
several  years  following  when  the  SLL  piled  up  a  series 
of  major  political  differences  with  us,  were  we  able 

(continued  next  page) 


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lilbmen  and 
Revolution 


30 


SPARTACIST 


. . .  Letter  to  OCRFI 

to  appreciate  that  the  SLL's  desire  in  1962  to  make  a 
rapprochement  to  the  SWP  then  (to  which  we  were 
willing  to  acquiesce  but  not  agree  with)  was  an  ex- 
pression of  a  fundamental  political  difference. 

The  SLL's  break  with  us  in  1962  was,  however, 
part  of  a  real  struggle  within  the  American  group. 
The  1971  SLL-OCI  break  seems  to  have  been  but  a 
separation  of  bloc  partners  without  visible  repercus- 
sions within  either  group— hence  without  struggle  how- 
ever unclear. 

At  bottom,  differing  estimations  of  the  split  in  the 
IC  may  reflect  the  linguistically  slight  but  nonetheless 
real  differences  between  the  OCI's  "For  the  Recon- 
struction of  the  Fourth  International"  and  the  SL's 
"For  the  Rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International."  Our 
slogan  implies  that  a  very  fundamental  process  must 
be  gone  through;  that  it  is  not  possible  simply  to  fit 
together  existing  bits  and  pieces,  perhaps  with  a 
little  chipping  here  or  there,  in  order  to  put  the  edi- 
fice together  again. 

Since  the  SL/U.S.  has  itself  already  had  a  ten-year 
history  with  the  IC,  we  cannot  simply  approach  the 
OCRFI  discussions  as  if  the  previous  experience  be- 
tween main  elements  in  the  OCRFI  who  had  been  part 
of  the  former  IC  and  ourselves  did  not  exist.  There- 
fore we  must  review  that  past  experience  since  it 
conditions  our  approach  to  the  OCRFI. 

Our  views  on  the  development  of  the  IC  since  1966 
are  set  forth  initially  in  Spartacist  No.  6  (June -July 
1966)  on  the  London  1966  Conference  and  our  expul- 
sion; in  the  article  on  the  Healy-Wohlforth  current 
in  Spartacist  No.  17-18  (August-September  1970);  in 
Spartacist  No.  20  (April-May  1971)  which  is  a  summary 
of  political  and  organizational  developments  since 
1966;  and  in  Workers  Fang^rd  No.  3  (December  1971) 
on  the  SLL-OCI  split.  As  you  will  note  from  these 
materials,  from  the  time  we  first  became  aware  of  it 
at  the  London  Conference,  we  protested  the  absence  of 
democratic  centralism  in  the  IC. 

We  believe  that  one  of  the  necessary  tests  of  gen- 
uine revolutionists  is  the  demonstrated  capacity  to 
even  ruthlessly  undertake  self-criticism.  The  "Inter- 
national Committee"  dominated  by  the  SWP  from  1954 
to  1963  and  by  the  SLL  from  1963  to  1971  was  always 
partly  fictitious  and  partly  a  formalization  of  blocs  of 
convenience  by  essentially  national  organizations.  This 
demands  explanation  by  those  who  would  not  simply 
repeat  their  previous  experience.  It  is  not  enough  to 
pass  over  the  last  eighteen  years  with  the  promise 
that  from  now  on  things  will  be  done  differently. 

We  were  definitively  expelled  from  the  Healyite 
international  conglomeration  in  1966  at  the  very  time 
the  OCRFI  pinpoints  as  the  beginning  of  the  SLL's 
downhill  slide.  We  believe  there  is  a  relationship. 
Evidently  as  part  of  the  OCI's  attempt  to  remain  in  a 
common  bloc  with  the  SLL,  and  perhaps  in  part 
through  ignorance  of  our  real  positions,  the  OCI  has 
over  the  years  projected  upon  the  SL/U.S.  a  series 
of  positions.  Not  only  do  we  not  hold,  nor  have  we 
ever  held,  these  views,  but  most  of  them  are  the  exact 
opposite  of  our  views.  For  example,  the  OCI  asserted 
that  we  believe  in  the  "family  of  Trotskyism"  even 


though  at  the  1966  London  Conference  our  delegation 
was  struck  by  the  aptness  of  an  OCI  speaker's  state- 
ment "there  is  no  family  of  Trotslqrism"  and  our 
speaker  specifically  quoted  that  observation  approv- 
ingly, as  was  reported  in  Spartacist  No.  6  and  many 
times  since.  In  the  "Statement  by  the  OCI"  of  1967  on 
the  IC,  reference  is  repeatedly  made  to  a  "VO- 
Robertson  bloc"  and  the  general  conclusion  drawn 
that  "the  struggle  against  Robertson  is  fully  identi- 
fied with  the  struggle  against  Pabloism.  His  positions 
join  those  of  the  SWP  and  the  United  Secretariat  where 
they  are  not  those  of  Pablo."  The  OCI  in  similar  terms 
apologized  to  the  SLL  for  the  invitation  of  an  SL/U.S. 
observer  to  the  Essen  Conference. 

The  SL/U.S.  was  aware  from  1962  on  that  the  OCI 
tendency  was  not  to  be  equated  with  the  SLL,  and 
after  our  expulsion  from  the  London  Conference  we 
continued  to  note  the  difference  (for  example  in 
Spartacist  No.  17-18,  in  discussing  Healy's  attempted 
rapprochement  with  the  United  Secretariat,  we  wrote 
of  the  Healy-Banda  group  "and  their  politically  far 
superior  but  internationally  quiescent  French  allies, 
the  ^ambert  group."  We  also  knew  through  private 
sources  that  at  least  since  1967  the  Wohlforth  group 
internally  had  been  conducting  a  vigorous  campaign 
to  discredit  the  OCL 

Our  characterization  of  the  OCI  as  politically 
superior  to  the  SLL  was  based  on  a  series  of  political 
positions  which  the  OCI  held  in  common  with  us  in 
counterposition  to  the  views  of  the  SLL.  Recent  OCI 
polemics  against  the  SLL  (e.g.  La  Verity  No.  556) 
note  the  OCI's  objection  to  several  key  SLL  positions 
which  we  had  also  opposed:  the  SLL's  willful  use  of 
"dialectics"  as  a  mystification  to  hide  political  ques- 
tions; the  SLL's  chronic  tailending  of  Stalinism  in 
Vietnam;  the  SLL's  enthusing  over  the  Chinese  "Red 
Guards";  the  SLL's  notion  of  a  classless  "Arab  Rev- 
olution"; the  SLL's  unprincipled  approach  to  the  United 
Secretariat-SWP  in  1970.  We  also  considered  of  im- 
portance the  OCI's  objection  to  the  SLL  position  that 
Pabloist  revisionism  had  not  organizationally  de- 
stroyed the  Fourth  International.  The  OCI's  position 
on  this  question  appears  to  correspond  to  the  view 
we  have  consistently  held  and  upon  which  we  spoke 
insistently  at  the  1966  London  Conference. 

Moreover,  we  have  always  taken  a  very  serious 
attitude  toward  the  OCI,  not  because  of  its  numbers 
but  because  of  its  experienced  senior  cadres  and  its 
continuity  in  the  world  movement.  We  have  centered 
in  this  letter  on  the  presumed  differences  between  us 
and  the  OCI,  but  the  strengths  of  the  OCI  have  re- 
flected themselves  as  well,  in  specific  political  posi- 
tions, some  of  which  we  have  learned  from,  such  as 
the  OCI's  insistence  on  the  basic  class  unity  across  the 
whole  of  Europe,  the  "Iron  Curtain"  notwithstanding. 
Other  positions  as  noted  above  we  have  developed  in 
an  independent  but  parallel  fashion.  Above  all,  we 
respect  the  OCI  for  its  adamant  attempt  to  give  life  to 
its  internationalism. 

That  is  why  we  patiently  waited  when  no  other  option 
was  open  to  us  vis-a-vis  the  OCI,  and  when  we  had  the 
opportunity  we  have  persistently  sought  discussion.  It 
was  especially  with  the  OCI  in  mind  that  in  the  con- 
cluding portion  of  our  final  statement  upon  being  ex- 
pelled from  the  London  Conference  in  1966  we  stated, 


WINTER  1973-74 


31 


"If  the  comrades  go  ahead  to  exclude  us  from  this  con- 
ference, we  ask  only  what  we  have  asked  before— study 
our  documents,  including  our  present  draft  on  U.S. 
work  before  you  now,  and  our  work  over  the  next 
months  and  years.  We  will  do  the  same,  and  a  unifi- 
cation of  the  proper  Trotskyist  forces  will  be  achieved, 
despite  this  tragic  setback." 

Recently,  in  the  document  "The  Tasks  of  Re- 
building the  Fourth  International"  (which  the  introduc- 
tion to  the  English  edition  states  is  "central  to  [the] 
international  discussion"),  the  OCI  characterized  the 
SL  from  the  1966  Conference  as  "centrist"  or 
"centrist-sectarian. "  Thus,  rather  than  following  our 
documents  and  our  ongoing  work  as  we  asked  in  1966, 
the  OCI  has  simply  continued  to  echo  the  SLL's 
avalanche  of  falsehood  aimed  at  our  political  obliter- 
ation. In  the  light  of  the  above  points,  this  would  seem 
an  appropriate  time  for  the  OCI  and  with  it  the  OCRFI 
to  undertake  a  thorough  examination  of  the  SL's 
politics. 

We  do  not  expect,  and  would  have  no  confidence  in, 
a  simple  reversal  of  appraisal  of  the  SL/U.S.  by  the 
OCI.  Estimations  of  the  SL/U.S.  by  the  groups  com- 
prising the  OCRFI  should  be  guided  by  two  considera- 
tions. One  is  the  questions  of  general  political  and 
programmatic  character  such  as  we  have  gone  into 
above.  We  naturally  believe  that  we  are  correct  about 
these;  but  because  our  views  have  taken  shape  within 
the  American  Trotskyist  framework  (and  during  a 
period  of  enforced  national  isolation)  we  must  allow 
that  they  may  be  partial,  and  in  ways  which  we  cannot 
presently  know.  As  the  main  Political  Report  to  our 
recent  National  Conference  stated:  "The  SL/U.S.  ur- 
gently requires  disciplined  subordination  to  an  inter- 
national leadership  not  subject  to  the  deforming  pres- 
sures of  our  particular  national  situation."  (see 
Workers  Vanguard  No.  15,  January  1973)  It  was  in  this 
spirit  that  we  published  our  article  "Genesis  of 
Pabloism"  (Spartacist  No.  21,  Fall  1972)  which  con- 
tained substantially  the  sum  total  of  our  present  under- 
standing of  Pabloism. 

The  other  question,  subordinate  but  within  the 
framework  of  essential  programmatic  agreement  very 
important  and  perhaps  contributory  to  that  program- 
matic agreement  is  the  question  of  comrades  inter- 
nationally understanding  the  concrete  reality  of  the 
socialist  movement  in  the  U.S.  in  the  context  of  the 
evolved  American  labor  movement  and  the  specific 
configuration  of  class  relations  in  this  country.  There 
is  a  striking  lack  of  correspondence  between  the  ex- 
isting divisions  within  the  ostensibly  Marxist  move- 
ments in  Europe  and  America  so  that  any  effort  to 
superimpose  groups  in  Europe  on  "similar"  groups 
in  the  U.S.  is  inappropriate.  The  six-months'  stay  by 
Comrade  Sharpe  in  France  was  extremely  helpful  in 
bringing  this  point  home  to  us.  It  would  be  extremely 
clarifying  for  example  if  a  representative  of  the  OCI 
could  come  to  this  country  for  an  extended  stay  to 
examine,  for  example,  not  only  the  SL/U.S.  in  its  con- 
crete work,  but  also  currents  such  as  the  "Vanguard 
Newsletter"  of  Turner- Fender,  which  has  stood  appar- 
ently closest  formally  to  the  OCI;  the  International 
Socialists,  who  mainly  look  to^  Lutte  Ouvri^re  as  their 
closest  friends  in  France,  but  who  contain  sympathi- 
zers of  the  OCI  among  them;  and  the  other  tendencies 


within  the  American  radical  movement.  Moreover,  the 
trade  unions  as  they  have  evolved  here  should  be 
examined  in  the  union  offices  and  on  picket  lines.  More 
broadly,  characteristic  college  campuses  and  the 
reality  of  the  National  Student  Association  should  be 
investigated. 

We  take  our  commitment  as  internationalists 
seriously  as  a  condition  for  our  very  survival  as 
Marxian  revolutionists,  and  by  this  we  mean  neither 
diplomatic  non-aggression  pacts  with  groups  in  other 
countries  nor  the  Healyite  fashion  of  exporting  sub- 
servient mini-SLLs.  As  one  of  the  results  of  what  is 
for  us  precipitous  growth  domestically,  we  are  ac- 
quiring the  resources— human  and  material— to  under- 
take for  the  first  time  on  a  sustained  basis  our 
international  obligations. 

It  is  in  the  context  of  our  need  for  a  disciplined 
International  and  our  firm  commitment  to  fight  to 
bring  about  the  programmatic  agreement  which  forms 
the  only  basis  for  such  an  International,  that  we  wish 
to  participate  in  the  discussion  opened  by  the  OCRFI. 

We  are  enclosing  copies  of  all  our  documents 
referred  to  in  this  letter.  Should  we  be  accepted  into 
the  discussion  organized  by  the  OCRFI,  in  order  to 
familiarize  comrades  internationally  with  our  views, 
we  would  like  to  submit  three  documents  initially  to 
the  discussion:  (1)  this  letter,  (2)  our  delegation's  re- 
marks to  the  1966  London  Conference,  (3)  our  State- 
ment of  Principles. 

Fraternally, 

Political  Bureau 
Spartacist  League/U.S, 

cc.  Spartacist  League/ Australia-New  Zealand 


Spartacist  Local  Directory 


BERKELEY-OAKLAND 
Box  852,  Main  P.O. 
Berkeley,  CA  94701 
(415)  653-4668 


BOSTON 
Box  188,  M.I.T.  Sta. 
Cambridge,  MA  02139 
(617)  492-3928 


BUFFALO 
Box  412,  Station  C 
Buffalo,  NY  14209 
(716)  837-1854 


CHICAGO 
Box  6471,  Main  P.O. 
Chicago,  XL  60680 
(312)  728-2151 


CLEVELAND 
Box  6765 

Cleveland,  OH  44101 
(216)  651-9147 


DETROIT 
Box  663A,  General  P.O 
Detroit,  MI  48232 
(313)  921-4626 

LOS  ANGELES 
Box  38053,  Wilcox  Sta. 
Los  Angeles,  CA  90038 
(213)  467-6855 

NEW  ORLEANS 
Box  51634,  Main  P.O. 
New  Orleans,  LA  70151 
(504)  866-8384 

NEW  YORK 
Box  1377,  G.P.O. 
New  York,  NY  10001 
(212)  925-2426 

SAN  DIEGO 
Box  22052,  Univ.  City  Sta 
San  Diego,  CA  92122 
(714)  272-2286 

SAN  FRANCISCO 
Box  1757 

San  Francisco,  CA  94101 
(415)  653-4668 


32 


SPARTACIST 


WINTER  1973-74 


Letter  to  the  OCRFI 
and  the  OCI 


15  January  1973 

Organizing  Committee  for  the  Reconstruction  of  the 

Fourth  International;  and . 
Organisation  Communiste  Internationaliste 

Dear  Comrades, 

At  the  Third  National  Conference  of  the  Spartacist 
League/U.So  we  held  a  major  discussion  on  the  Organ- 
izing Committee  for  the  Reconstruction  of  the  Fourth 
International  (OCRFI),  based  on  our  translations  from 
the  October  1972  issue  of  La  Correspondance  Interna- 
tionale containing  the  basic  documents  and  discussion 
from  your  international  conference  of  July  1972.  We 
were  also  guided  by  the  reports  of  our  comrades 
Sharpe  and  Foster  of  their  discussions  last  summer 
with  comrade  DeM.  of  the  OCI. 

We  give  serious  attention  to  the  OCRFI  because  we 
note  that  some  of  the  steps  that  it  has  undertaken  go  in 
the  direction  of  resolving  the  impasse  which  has  existed 
between  the  SL/U,S.  and  the  International  Committee 
(IC)  since  November  1962,  and  the  acute  hostility  be- 
tween us  after  the  April  1966  IC  Conference  in  London. 
We  are  in  agreement  with  the  stated  goal  of  the  OCRFI 
to  fight  on  the  program  of  the  Fourth  International  to 
reconstruct  a  democratic-centralist  world  party,  and 
to  pursue  this  aim  at  present  through  a  regulated  po- 
litical discussion  in  an  international  discussion  bulle- 
tin culminating  in  an  international  conference.  We 
note  that  toward  this  end  your  July  conference  did  in- 
deed represent  a  break  with  the  federated  bloc  practice 
of  the  former  IC  and  was  indeed  markedby  a  real  and 
vigorous  discussion  such  as  was  absent  from  the  Third 
Conference  of  the  IC  in  London  in  1966.  Thus  it  appears 
to  us  that  on  the  face  of  it  the  OCRFI  does  possess  one 
of  the  essential  qualities  necessary  for  the  struggle  to 
verify  the  authentic  Trotskyist  program  and  to  measure 
by  that  program  the  political  practice,  in  its  develop- 
ment, of  national  groups  participating  in  the  discussion. 
Therefore  the  SL/U.S„  has  come  to  the  conclusion  that 
it  is  part  of  our  duty  as  internationalists  to  seek  to 
participate  in  this  discussion. 

We  note  that  we  fully  meet  the  formal  requirement 
for  admission  to  participation  in  your  discussion  pro- 
cess as  stated  in  the  resolution,  "On  the  Tasks  of  the 
Reconstruction  of  the  Fourth  International,"  i.e.,  we 
"state  [our]  will  to  fight  on  the  program  of  the  Fourth 
International  to  reconstruct  the  leading  center,  which 
[we]  agree  does  not  yet  exist."  (see  our  1963  resolu- 
tion, "Toward  Rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International," 
and  later  documents)  We  are  unable  to  request  more 
than  simple  admission  to  the  discussion,  rather  than 
admission  to  the  Organizing  Committee  of  the  discus- 
sion, because  of  our  programmatic  differences,  un- 
clarities  about  or  simple  unf  amiliarity  with  views  held 
by  members  of  the  Organizing  Committee,  Since  the 
Organizing  Committee  also  intends  to  work  toward  the 
construction  of  national  sections  of  the  Fourth  Inter- 


national, we  can  hardly  participate  in  such  activities 
given  this  programmatic  ambiguity. 

In  our  view,  the  preliminary  purpose  of  a  discussion 
such  as  that  envisaged  by  the  OCRFI  must  be  to  crys- 
tallize a  series  of  decisive  specific  programmatic  de- 
mands analogous  to  the  concrete  points  defining  rev- 
olutionary Marxist  principle  set  forth  by  Trotsky  in 
the  1929-33  period  as  the  basis  for  rallying  forces 
from  the  scattered  and  politically  diverse  milieu  of 
oppositional  communists. 

Therefore  we  should  like  to  list  some  of  the  issues 
which  appear  to  us  to  pose  differences  or  central  am- 
biguities between  our  views  and  those  expressed  by  the 
OCRFI  or  which  have  been  advanced  by  the  OCI,  The 
importance  that  we  attach  to  these  points  is  that  if  un- 
resolved they  threaten  the  Crystallization  of  a  bona  fide 
and  disciplined  Trotskyist  world  movement  and  center. 
Therefore  from  our  present  understanding  these  are 
topics  which  merit  particular  discussion, 

(1)  United  Front:  We  differ  with  the  conception 
of  the  "strategic  united  front"  as  practiced  by  the 
OCI  and  as  set  forth  in  "For  the  Reconstruction  of  the 
Fourth  International"  (especially  Section  IX,  "Fight 
for  Power,  Class  United  Front,  Revolutionary  Par- 
ties") in  La  Verity  No.  545,  October  1969  and  in  the 
general  political  resolution  of  the  OCRFI.  In  terms  of 
the  OCI's  work  in  France,  our  position  has  been  elabo- 
rated in  Workers  Vanguard  No.  11,  September  1972. 
We  believe  that  we  share  with  the  first  four  Congres- 
ses of  the  Communist  International  the  view  that  the 
united  front  is  essentially  a  tactic  used  by  revolution- 
ists "to  set  the  base  against  the  top"  under  those  ex- 
ceptional conditions  and  decisive  opportunities  in  which 
the  course  of  proletarian  political  life  has  flowed  out- 
side its  normal  channels.  Comrade  Trotsky  heavily 
(continued  on  page  28) 


-Demandez: 


No.  1:  -Le  Comity  Internationale  eclate 
-Bolivie:  debacle  centriste 


No.  2: 


-Du  SWP  au  Trotskysme 

-D^cheance  et  chute  des  Black  Panthers 


No.  3:  -Front  populaire  et  soutien  critique 
-Rapport  de  la  delegation  Spartaciste 
a  la  Conference  de  Londres  (1966) 

No.  4:  -Lettre  au  Comity  d'organisation  pour  la 
reconstruction  de  la  IVe  Internationale 
et  t  I'OCI 

-Vers  la  scission  dans  le  Secretariat  Unifid 
Spartacist  Box  1377G.P.O.,  N.Y.,  N.Y. 


SPARTAaST 


NUMBER  23 


SPRING  1977 


50  CENTS 


Toward  the  Rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International! 


Declaration  for 
the  Organizing 
of  an 

International 

Trotskyist 

Tendency 


ADOPTED  IN  JULY  1974 

1 .  The  Spartacisi  League  of  Australia  and  New  Zealand 
and  the  Spartacist  League  of  the  United  States  declare 
themselves  to  be  the  nucleus  for  the  early  crystallization  of 
an  international  Trotskyist  tendency  based  upon  the  1966 
Declaration  of  Principles  and  dedicated  to  the  rebirth  of 
the  Fourth  International. 

2.  In  a  half  dozen  other  countries  parties,  groups  and 
committees  have  expressed  their  general  or  specific 
sympathy  or  support  for  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency,  as  have  scattered  supporters  or  sympathizers 
from  a  number  of  additional  countries.  Among  these 
groups  and  individuals  are  comrades,  in  both  Europe  and 
Asia,  possessing  many  years  or  even  decades  of  experience 
as  cadres  of  the  Trotskyist  movement. 

3.  The  Revolutionary  Internationalist  Tendency,  a 
small  Marxist  wing  of  the  "United  Secretariat,"  centered 
on  the  United  States  and  with  supporters  in  Australia  and 
elsewhere,  has  seen  its  spokesmen  expelled  from  their 
national  sections  and  parties  for  seeking  to  express  their 
views  within  the  United  Secretariat,  that  deeply  factionally 
divided  and  unprincipled  conglomeration  of  reformists 

continued  on  page  2 


Trotsky  near  Naples,  1932. 


Spartacusbund  Expels  Left 
Opposition 

Trotskyist  Faction 
Fuses  witliTLD...24 


2 


SPARTACIST 


Declaration  for  the 
Organizing  of  an 
International  Trotskyist 
Tendency. . . 

and  revisionists,  latter-day  Kautskys,  Bukharins  and 
Pablos.  If  the  main  contenders  in  the  "United  Secretariat" 
are  united  in  their  common  and  not-so-veiled  class 
collaborationist  appetites,  they  are  deeply  divided  between 
the  electoralism  and  placid  neo-populism  of,  e.g.,  the 
American  Socialist  Workers  Party  and  the  guerrilla- 
terrorist  enthusing  of,  e.g.,  the  French  ex-Ligue  Commu- 
niste.  These  differences  reflect  far  more  the  differing 
national  milieus  and  resulting  opportunist  appetites  than 
they  do  any  questions  of  principle.  The  recently  concluded 
"Tenth  World  Congress"  of  the  United  Secretariat  refused 
to  hear  or  even  acknowledge  the  appeal  of  RIT  comrades 
against  their  expulsion.  The  RIT  forces  are  now  making 
common  cause  with  the  Spartacist  tendency.  They  are  but  a 
vanguard  of  those  who  will  struggle  out  of  the  revisionist 
swamp  and  toward  revolutionary  Marxism.  Already  in 
France  an  oppositional  Central  Committee  member  of  the 
former  Ligue  Communiste  has  broken  from  the  Front 
Communiste  Revolutionnaire  (recently  formed  by  Rouge) 
in  solidarity  with  the  views  of  the  RIT. 

4.  In  Germany  senior  elements  from  the  centrist  and 
now  fragmented  left  split  from  the  United  Secretariat  in 
1969  are  being  won  to  the  Spartacist  tendency.  They  are 
regrouping  around  the  publication  Kommunistische 
Korrespondenz.  In  Germany  three  inextricable  tasks  are 
posed  for  Leninists:  to  programmatically  win  over 
subjectively  revolutionary  elements  from  among  the 
thousands  of  young  left  social  democrats,  centrists, 
revisionists  and  Maoists;  to  fuse  together  intellectual  and 
proletarian  elements,  above  all  through  the  development 
and  struggle  of  communist  industrial  fractions;  to  inwardly 
assimilate  some  thirty  years  of  Marxist  experience  and 
analysis  from  which  the  long  break  in  continuity  has  left  the 


SPARTAOST 

(Fourth  Internationalist) 
An  Organ  of  Revolutionary  Marxism 

EDITORIAL  BOARD:  Charles  O'Brien  (managing),  Elizabeth  Gordon, 
William  Logan,  James  Robertson,  John  Sharpe 
PRODUCTION  MANAGER:  Karen  Allen 
CIRCULATION  MANAGER:  Anne  Kelley 

Published  for  the  Interim  Secretariat  of  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency,  in  accord  with  the  "Declaration  for  the  Organizing  of  an 
International  Trotskyist  Tendency,"  by  the  Spartacist  Publishing 
Company,  Box  1377,  G.P.O.,  New  York,  N  Y.  10001.  Telephone: 
966-6841. 

Opinions  expressed  in  signed  articles  or  letters  do  not  necessarily 
express  the  editorial  viewpoint. 


Number  23  x."3  Spring  1977 


new  generation  of  German  revolutionary  Marxists  still 
partially  isolated. 

5.  In  Austria,  Israel,  Canada  and  elsewhere  similar 
splits,  followed  by  revolutionary  regroupment  and  growth, 
are  occurring.  In  Austria  the  initial  nucleus  came  from 
youth  of  the  United  Secretariat  section.  The  "Vanguard" 
group  of  Israel  is  the  last  still  united  section  of  the  old 
"International  Committee"  which  split  in  1971  between  the 
British  Socialist  Labour  League's  wing  led  by  Gerry  Healy 
(with  which  the  American  Workers  League  of  Wohlforth  is 
still  united  despite  friction)  and  the  French  Organisation 
Communiste  Internationaliste  led  by  Pierre  Lambert 
which  subsequently  lost  most  of  its  international  support — 
i.e.,  with  the  Bolivian  Partido  Obrero  Revolucionario  of  G. 
Lora  and  the  European  groupings  around  the  Hungarian, 
Varga,  both  breaking  away.  If  the  "Vanguard"  group  amid 
this  welter  of  disintegration  is  still  unable  to  choose 
between  the  counterposed  claims  of  Healy  and  Lambert,  it 
did  produce  and  promptly  expel  a  principled  and  valiant 
counter-tendency  to  both.  In  Canada  youth  from  the 
Revolutionary  Marxist  Group's  Red  Circles  are  being 
drawn  to  Trotskyism.  Everywhere  unprincipled  forma- 
tions are  subjected  to  the  hammer  blows  of  sharpened 
capitalist  crisis  and  upsurge  in  the  class  struggle. 

6.  In  Ceylon  where  the  historical  consequences  of 
Pabloist  revisionism  have  been  most  fully  revealed,  only 
the  Revolutionary  Workers  Party,  led  by  the  veteran 
Trotskyist,  Edmund  Samarakkody,  has  emerged  with 
integrity  from  the  welter  of  betrayals  perpetrated  by  the  old 
LSSP  and  which  were  aided  and  abetted  by  the  United 
Secretariat,  its  unspeakable  agent  on  the  island,  Bala 
Tampoe,  and  the  craven  Healyite  "International  Commit- 
tee." The  R  WP  has  been  compelled  to  seek  to  generalize  the 
revolutionary  Marxist  program  anew  from  Marxist  class- 
struggle  principles. 

7.  The  Spartacist  tendency  is  now  actively  working  for 
the  immediate  convening  of  an  international  conference  to 
politically  and  geographically  extend  the  tendency  and  to 
further  formalize  and  consolidate  it.  The  tendency 
organizing  nucleus  will  seek  to  work  in  the  closest 
collaboration  with  sympathizing  groups,  particularly  in 
continuing  and  assuring  a  broadly-based  and  full  written 
and  verbal  discussion  process  leading  to  this  international 
conference. 

In  the  pre-conference  interim  the  tendency  organizing 
nucleus  assumes  political  and  organizational  responsibility 
for  the  prior  international  resolutions,  declarations,  open 
letters  and  agreements  for  common  work  of  its  present 
constituent  groups.  These  documents  notably  include: 
"Toward  Rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International,"  14  June 
1963;  Statement  to  the  3rd  Conference  of  the  International 
Committee,  6  April  1966;  Letter  to  the  OCR  FI  and  French 
OCI,  15  January  1973;  Letter  to  Samarakkody.  27  October 
1973;  the  historical  analyses:  "Genesis  of  Pabloism," 
"Development  of  the  Spartacist  League  [of  New  Zealand]," 
and  "The  Struggle  for  Trotskyism  in  Ceylon";  and  the 
agreements  endorsed  at  the  interim  international  confer- 
ence held  in  Germany  in  January  1974,  printed  in  IVorkers 
Vanguard  No.  39,  I  March  1974. 

8.  Both  the  present  "United  Secretariat"  and  the  former 
"International  Committee"  despite  their  respective  preten- 
sions "to  be"  the  Fourth  International,  as  a  necessary 


SPRING  1977 


3 


condition  for  their  fake  "unities,"  have  chronically  mocked 
the  principles  of  internationalism  and  of  Bolshevik 
democratic  centralism  as  their  different  national  groups  or 
nationally-based  factions  have  gone  their  own  way— 
ultimately  in  response  to  the  pressures  of  their  own  ruling 
classes.  Thus  until  the  English  and  French  components  of 
the  ex-"International  Committee"  blew  apart,  the  Interna- 
tional Committee  operated  explicitly  on  the  proposition 
that  "the  only  method  of  arriving  at  decisions  that  remains 
possible  at  present  is  the  principle  of  unanimity"  (decision 
at  the  1966  London  International  Committee  Conference). 
Since  then  the  Healyites  have  substituted  the  naked 
Gauleiter/  Fiihrer  principle  as  their  mockery  of  democratic 
centralism.  The  other,  OCI-led  wing  of  the  ex-IC  retained 
the  contradiction  of  launching  the  Organizing  Committee 
for  Reconstruction  of  the  Fourth  International  which  was 
supposed  to  initiate  political  discussion  on  the  basis  of  the 
1938  Transitional  Program,  while  simultaneously  seeking 
to  build  new  national  sections.  Both  such  hypothetical 
sections  and  the  Organizing  Committee  itself  therefore 
labored  under  a  basic  ambiguity  from  the  outset,  but  the 
Organizing  Committee's  disintegration  into  sharply 
counterposed  elements  all  of  whom  swear  by  the  1938 
Program,  has  left  its  practice  stillborn.  Today,  following 
the  just  concluded  "Tenth  Congress"  of  the  United 
Secretariat,  its  American  supporters,  being  themselves  in 
the  Minority  internationally,  threaten  their  own  national 
minority,  the  Internationalist  Tendency  (which  belongs  to 
the  international  Majority),  by  declaring: 

"The  Socialist  Workers  Party  proclaims  its  fraternal 
solidarity  with  the  Fourth  International  but  is  prevented  by 
reactionary  legislation  from  affiliating  to  it.  All  political 
activities  of  members  of  the  SWP  are  decided  upon  by  the 
democratically  elected  national  leadership  bodies  of  the 
SWP  and  by  the  local  and  branch  units  of  the  party. 
Unconditional  acceptance  of  the  authority  of  these  SWP 
bodies  is  a  prerequisite  of  membership.  There  are  no  other 
bodies  whose  decisions  are  binding  on  the  SWP  or  its 
members^  [our  emphasis] 

— SWP  Internal  Informational  Bulletin  No.  4,  April 
1974,  from  Introductory  Note,  17  April  1974 

9.  This  apparently  naked  assertion  of  national  indepen- 
dence by  or  toward  organizations  in  the  United  States  is 
not  unique  and  has  a  specific  history.  Thus  the  American 
Healyite  publicist,  Wohlforth,  declares  in  his  pamphlet, 
"Revisionism  in  Crisis": 

"With  the  passing  of  the  Voorhis  Act  in  1940  the  SWP  was 
barred  from  membership  in  the  Fourth  International  by  law. 
Ever  since  that  time  the  SWP  has  not  been  able  to  be  an 
affiliate  of  the  Fourth  International.  So  today  its  relationship 
to  the  United  Secretariat  is  one  of  political  solidarity  just  as 
the  Workers'  League  stands  in  political  solidarity  with  the 
International  Committee." 

The  "Voorhis  Act"  passed  by  the  American  Congress  in 
1940  has  been  used  as  a  convenient  excuse  for  revisionists 
to  more  openly  display  their  concrete  anti-internationalism 
than  is  convenient  for  their  co-thinkers  elsewhere. 

This  act,  while  ostensibly  aimed  centrally  at  domestic 
military  conspiracies  directed  by  foreign  powers,  was 
actually  intended,  as  was  the  overlapping  "Smith  Act,"  to 
harass  the  American  Communist  Party,  then  supporting 
the  Hitler-Stalin  Pact.  A  key  provision  states:  "An 
organization  is  subject  to  foreign  control  if . . .  its  policies  or 
any  of  them  are  determined  by  or  at  the  suggestion  of ...  an 
international  political  organization"  (political  activity 


being  defined  as  that  aimed  at  the  forcible  control  or 
overthrow  of  the  government).  Such  organizations  were  to 
be  subject  to  such  massive  and  repetitive  "registration" 
requirements  as  to  paralyze  them,  quite  aside  from  the 
impermissible  nature  of  many  of  the  disclosures  demanded. 
Thus  it  was  similar  to  the  later  "Communist  Control  Act" 
which  was  successfully  fought  by  the  American  CP.  But  the 
"Voorhis  Act"  with  its  patently  unconstitutional  and 
contradictory  provisions  has  never  been  used  by  the 
government — only  the  revisionists. 

10.  Today  the  United  Secretariat  Majority  makes  loud 
cries  in  favor  of  international  unity  and  discipline  i.e., 
against  the  S  WP's  views  and  conduct,  but  it  was  not  always 
so.  When  the  forerunner  of  the  Spartacist  League  tried  to 
appeal  its  expulsion  from  the  SWP  to  the  United 
Secretariat,  Pierre  Frank  wrote  for  the  United  Secretariat 
on  28  May  1965  that: 

"In  reply  to  your  letter  of  May  18  we  call  your  attention  first 
of  all  to  the  fact  that  the  Fourth  International  has  no 
organizational  connection  with  the  Socialist  Workers  party 
and  consequently  has  no  jurisdiction  in  a  problem  such  as 
you  raise;  namely,  the  application  of  democratic  centralism 
as  it  affects  the  organization  either  as  a  whole  or  in  individual 
instances." 

After  Frank  gave  the  Spartacists  his  answer,  Healy 
publicly  expressed  sympathy  for  the  Spartacists'  plight, 
charging  in  his  Newsletter  of  16  June  1965  that  Frank 
"ducks  behind  a  legal  formula  for  cover."  But  when  Healy's 
own  ox  was  gored  by  the  SWP's  publication  of  the 
embarrassing  pamphlet  "Healy  'Reconstructs'  the  Fourth 
International,"  Healy's  SLL  threatened  violence  and/ or 
legal  action  ("Political  Committee  Statement,"  20  August 
1966  Newsletter)  against  any  who  circulated  the  pamphlet 
in  his  England.  Shortly  he  used  both — the  Tate  affair! 
Healy  claimed  as  the  basis  for  his  threats  the  self-same  fear 
of  the  Voorhis  Act  on  behalf  of  Wohlforth  and  the 
Spartacists.  But  the  Spartacist  then  replied: 

"We  for  our  part  reject  the  SLL's  solicitousness  on  our 
behalf  The  Voorhis  Act  is  a  paper  tiger — never  used  against 
anyone  and  patently  unconstitutional.  For  the  Justice 
Department  to  start  proceedings  against  a  small  group  like- 
ours  or  the  smaller  and  less  threatening  [Wohlforthite]  ACFI 
would  make  the  government  a  laughing  stock,  and  Healy 
knows  this.  He  is  aware  that  for  years  the  SWP  has  hidden 
behind  this  very  act  to  defend  its  own  federalist  idea  of  an 
International." 

—Spartacist  No.  7,  September-October  1966 

11.  More  currently,  however,  as  in  the  United 
Secretariat  Majority's  "Again  and  Always,  the  Question  of 
the  International"  (by  Alain  Krivine  and  the  self-same 
Pierre  Frank,  10  June  197 1,  SWP  International  Informa- 
tion Bulletin  No.  5,  July  197 1)  they  attack  the  public 
formulation  by  Jack  Barnes,  SWP  National  Secretary,  that 
"the  principal  condition  for  international  organization"  is 
"collaboration  between  leaderships. .. in  every  country." 
To  this  idea  Krivine  and  Frank  counterpose  "the  Interna- 
tional, a  world  party  based  on  democratic  centralism."  And  * 
later  the  Majority  Tendency  (in  IIDB  Volume  X,  No.  20, 
October  1973)  notes  that  the  Minority,  in  flagrant 
contradiction  to  Barnes'  and  Hansen's  previously  ex- 
pressed views,  declares,  "we  will  do  our  utmost  to  construct 

a  strong  [international]  center,"  and  the  Majority  con- 
cludes that  "actual  practice  leaves  no  doubt:  the  [Minority] 

continued  on  next  page 


4 


SPARTACIST 


Declaration  for  the 
Organizing  of  an 
International  Trotskyist 
Tendency... 

faction  would  be  for  a  'strong  center'  if  it  were  able  to  have  a 
majority  in  it."  And  most  recently  the  same  United 
Secretariat  Majority  asserts  that  behind  the  acts  of  the 
SWP-based  Minority  "lies  a  federalist  conception  of  the 
International  which  contradicts  the  statutes  and  the  line 
adopted  by  the  [Tenth]  World  Congress"  (17  March  1974, 
IIDB  Volume  XI,  No.  5,  April  1974).  The  United 
Secretariat  Majority  ought  to  know.  They  made  this 
accusation  in  commenting  on  a  Tenth  Congress  joint 
Minority-Majority  agreement  so  flagrant  in  mutually 
amnestying  every  sort  of  indiscipline,  public  attack  and 
disavowal,  organizational  chicanery,  walkout  and  expul- 
sion that  the  Majority  also  had  to  offer  the  feeble 
disclaimer  that  these  "compromises  adopted  at  this  World 
Congress  should  in  no  way  be  taken  as  precedents"  and  that 
"the  exceptional  character  of  these  measures  is  demonstrat- 
ed, moreover,  by  the  unanimous  adoption  of  our  new 
statutes"  (which  formally  contradict  the  real  practice!).  Yes 
indeed,  for  opportunists  and  revisionists  basic  organiza- 
tional principles  are  not  of  centralized,  comradely,  even- 
handed  and  consistent  practice  but  just  boil  down  to  the 
simple  matter  of  whose  ox  is  gored.  This  is  the  organiza- 
tional aspect  of  Pabloism. 

If  today  the  United  Secretariat  promises  to  back  up  its 
own  friends  in  the  SWP  should  action  be  taken  against 
them,  the  point  to  be  made  is  not  the  United  Secretariat's 
dishonesty  and  hypocrisy  per  se,  but  rather  the  shattering 
of  the  United  Secretariat's  pretensions  (like  those  of  the 
International  Committee)  to  be  the  Fourth  International. 
They  both  trim  their  avowed  organizational  principles 
through  expediency  for  petty  advantage  just  as  and  because 
they  do  the  same  with  their  political  principles  and 
program. 

12.  The  international  Spartacist  tendency  is  just  that, 
a  tendency  in  the  process  of  consolidation.  But  from 
its  international  outset  it  declares  its  continuing  fidel- 
ity already  tested  for  a  decade  in  national  confines  to 
Marxist-Leninist  principle  and  Trotskyist  program — 


Revolutionary,  Internationalist  and  Proletarian. 

The  struggle  for  the  rebirth  of  the  Fourth 
International  promises  to  be  difficult,  long,  and,  above  all, 
uneven.  But  it  is  an  indispensable  and  central  task  facing 
those  who  would  win  proletarian  power  and  thus  open  the 
road,  to  the  achievement  of  socialism  for  humanity.  The 
struggle  begun  by  L.D.  Trotsky  in  1929  to  constitute  an 
International  Left  Opposition  must  be  studied.  Both 
despite  and  because  of  the  differing  objective  and 
subjective  particulars  and  with  ultimately  common  basis 
then  and  now  there  is  much  to  be  learned  especially  as  to 
the  testing  and  selection  of  cadres  in  the  course  of  the 
vicissitudes  of  social  and  internal  struggles. 

The  giant  figure  of  Trotsky  attracted  around  itself  all 
sorts  of  personally  and  programmatically  unstable  ele- 
ments repelled  by  the  degenerating  Comintern.  This  led, 
together  with  demoralization  from  the  succession  of 
working-class  defeats  culminating  in  the  second  World 
War,  to  a  prolonged  and  not  always  successful  sorting  out 
process.  It  is  a  small  compensation  for  the  lack  of  a  Trotsky 
that  the  Spartacist  tendency  has  little  extraneous,  symbolic 
drawing  power  at  the  outset.  But  a  decade  of  largely 
localized  experience  shows  no  lack  of  weak  or  accidental 
elements  drawn  temporarily  to  the  tendency.  The  only  real 
test  is  in  hard-driving,  all-sided  involvement  in  living  class 
struggle. 

As  L.  D.  Trotsky  noted  in  "At  the  Fresh  Grave  of  Kote 
Tsintsadze,"  7  January  1931: 

"It  took  altogether  extraordinary  conditions  like  czarism, 
illegality,  prison,  and  deportation,  many  years  of  struggle 
against  the  Mensheviks,  and  especially  the  experience  of 

three  revolutions  to  produce  fighters  like  Kote  Tsintsadze  

"The  Communist  parties  in  the  West  have  not  yet  brought  up 
fighters  of  Tsintsadze's  type.  This  is  their  besetting  weakness, 
determined  by  historical  reasons  but  nonetheless  a  weakness. 
The  Left  Opposition  in  the  Western  countries  is  not  an 
exception  in  this  respect  and  it  must  well  take  note  of  it." 

Central  Committee,  SL/ANZ 
Central  Committee,  SL/U.S. 

[  This  draft  agreed  to  by  the  Political  Bureau  of  the  SLj  U.  S. 
and  a  representative  of  the  Central  Committee  of  the 
SL/ANZ,  22  May  1974;  accepted  by  the  Central  Commit- 
tee, SL/ANZ,  7  June  1974;  declared  to  be  in  force, 
following  concurrence  with  it  at  the  European  summer 
camp  of  the  international  Spartacist  tendency,  6  July 
1974.] 


SPARTACIST 

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SPRING  1977   5 

Letter  to  the  Spanish  Liga 
Comunista 


In  June  1975  the  international  Spartacist  tendency  (iSt) 
sent  the  following  letter  to  the  Liga  Comunista  de  Espana 
(LCE),  a  Spanish  sympathizing  section  of  the  "United 
Secretariat  of  the  Fourth  International"  (USec).  The  letter 
had  been  prompted  by  an  invitation  from  a  member  of  the 
LCE's  political  bureau,  at  a  meeting  in  February,  to  initiate 
organization-to-organization  written  discussion.  No  reply 
was  ever  received,  and  in  the  interim  the  LCE's  politics 
have  considerably  changed.  Nevertheless,  the  document 
retains  its  value  as  a  polemic  directed  at  left-leaning 
elements  within  the  USec. 

The  Liga  had  aligned  itself  with  the  misnamed  Leninist- 
Trotskyist  Faction  (LTF)  of  the  USec  on  the  basis  of  the 
pseudo-orthodox  phraseology  which  LTF  leaders — the 
American  Socialist  Workers  Party  (SWP)  and  the 
Argentine  Partido  Socialista  de  los  Trabajadores  (PST) — 
found  useful  in  polemicizing  against  Ernest  Mandel's 
International  Majority  Tendency  (IMT).  The  reformist 
SWP  and  PST  were  deeply  mired  in  class  collaborationism 
on  their  own  national  terrains  while  abstractly  criticizing 
the  popular-frontism  of  the  IMT  abroad.  However,  at  this 
time  the  LCE  not  only  vigorously  criticized  the  French 
Mandelites  for  refusing  to  characterize  the  Union  of  the 
Left  as  a  popular  front,  but  also  attacked  the  other  Spanish 
USec  sympathizing  section — the  Liga  Comunista  Revolu- 
cionaria  (LCR) — for  practicing  popular-frontism  at  home 
where  pressures  for  capitulation  were  strongest. 

The  LCE  was  not  the  only  group  in  the  USec  orbit  which 
was  taken  in  by  the  LTF's  false  appeal  to  orthodoxy.  In  the 
French  Ligue  Communiste  Revolutionnaire,  the  hetero- 
geneous Tendency  4  included  both  committed  supporters 
of  the  LTF — whose  politics  placed  them  to  the  right  of  the 
centrist  IMT — and  would-be  left  opponents  of  the  Krivine 
leadership.  In  Portugal,  the  Partido  Revolucionario  dos 
Trabalhadores  (PRT) — at  that  time  not  formally  affiliated 
to  the  USec,  but  politically  close  to  the  Spanish  LCE — 
opposed  giving  political  support  to  the  bonapartist  Armed 
Forces  Movement  (MFA),  while  the  IMT-linked  Liga 
Comunista  Internacionalista  was  appealing  to  the  "pro- 
gressive officers"  of  the  MFA. 

Since  this  letter  was  written  the  LTF  has  split  down  the 
middle,  with  the  PST  setting  up  a  third  faction  in  the  USec, 
the  Bolshevik  Tendency.  This  led  to  a  three-way  split  in  the 
Spanish  LCE,  with  some  elements  joining  the  LCR,  a 
group  of  PST  supporters  splitting  to  set  up  the  Liga 
Socialista  Revolucionaria,  and  the  remainder  coming 
firmly  under  the  thumb  of  the  SWP. 

Events  in  Portugal  during  the  summer  of  1975,  and  the 
debate  they  touched  off  inside  the  USec,  represented  a  key 
turning  point  for  the  LCE.  Its  articles  on  Portugal  in  1974 
and  early  1975  heavily  emphasized  opposition  to  popular- 
frontism.  In  Comhate  No.  23  (July  1974),  the  LCE  wrote: 

"...this  confrontation  between  the  popuiar-frontist  policies 
of  the  Stalinist  leaderships  and  the  line  of  workers  united 
front  which  the  Trotskyists  have  always  upheld  transcends 
the  French  presidential  elections  and  the  formation  of  the 


provisional  government  in  Portugal.  This  is  the  central 
strategic  question  which  is  put  in  quite  concrete  terms  before 
the  European  workers  movement."  [our  emphasis] 

No  more.  Today  the  LCE  says  the  central  issue  in  Portugal 
is  "the  struggle  for  democracy"! 

In  the  summer  of  1975  the  Portuguese  Socialist  Party  of 
Mario  Soares  spearheaded  an  anti-communist  mobiliza- 
tion in  the  name  of  (bourgeois)  "democracy,"  dragging  in 
its  wake  the  ostensible  Trotskyists  of  the  American  SWP 
and  the  French  Organisation  Communiste  Internationa- 
liste.  First,  on  the  Republica  affair  (see  "Fight  MFA 
Suppression  of  Left  Media  in  Portugal!"  Workers 
Vanguardno.  83,31  October  1975)  the  SWP  went  beyond 
defense  of  freedom  of  the  press  to  politically  support 
Soares  against  the  printers  who  had  carried  out  a  takeover 
of  the  pro-Socialist  Party  newspaper.  Then,  when  Soares 
launched  a  drive  against  the  Gon^alves  government — 
attacking  it  for  tolerating  "anarcho-populism,"  demanding 
that  workers  militias  be  disarmed  and  embryonic  organs  of 
dual  power  crushed,  justifying  the  actions  of  reactionary 
mobs  who  burned  down  Communist  Party  headquarters — 
the  SWP  declared  that,  "The  Socialist  Party  has  more  and 
more  become  the  rallying  ground  for  forces  in  the  workers 
movement  that  refuse  to  bow  to  the  Stalinists." 

In  August  of  that  year,  while  flames  were  leaping  from 
Communist  Party  offices  across  northern  Portugal,  the 
steering  committee  of  the  "Leninist-Trotskyist  Faction" 
met  to  discuss  a  draft  document  drawn  up  by  the  SWP 
leadership  on  "The  Key  Issues  in  the  Portuguese  Revolu- 
tion." The  theoretical  guru  of  the  PST,  Nahuel  Moreno, 
had  written  to  SWP  leader  Joseph  Hansen  expressing  a 
number  of  disagreements  with  the  latter's  analysis  of 
Portugal.  Hansen  replied  (letter  of  9  August  1975)  that,  "It 
appears  to  me  that  the  main  axis  of  the  Trotskyist  political 
course  [in  Portugal]  must  be  defense  of  the  democratic 
conquests"  ([SWP]  International  Internal  Discussion 
Bulletin,  January  1976). 

In  the  discussions  at  the  LTF  steering  committee  it  was 
not  the  PST  delegates  who  most  sharply  criticized  the 
SWP's  draft,  but  the  Spanish  LCE.  A  statement  by  the 
political  bureau  of  the  LCE  ("Concerning  the  Draft 
Resolution  on  Portugal")  criticized  the  draft  for  not 
characterizing  the  government  as  a  popular  front  and 
pointed  to  its  "one-sided"  characterization  of  the  Socialist 
Party:  ". . .  there  is  no  clear  analysis  and  confirmation  of  the 
counterrevolutionary  nature  of  its  political  line."  The  LCE 
critique  concludes: 

"We  cannot  limit  ourselves  to  centering  the  program 
exclusively  on  defense  of  democratic  rights,  though  at  a  given 
concrete  moment  this  could  be  the  axis. 
"On  the  other  hand,  we  should  emphasize  the  need  for  a 
concrete  program  to  develop,  transform  and  consolidate  the 
[workers]  committees  and  commissions  which  is  one  of  the 
central  tasks  for  advancing  the  class  independence  of  the 
mass  movements. 

"Finally,  it  is  necessary  to  indicate  clearly  the  central  role 
continued  on  next  page 


6 


SPARTACIST 


Liga  Comunista... 

played  by  a  governmental  slogan  as  the  expression  of  class 
independence  and  the  need  to  break  with  the  bourgeoisie — " 
Rather  than  fighting  out  these  differences,  however, 
both  PST  and  LCE  representatives  voted  for  the  SWP 
draft  with  the  understanding  that  the  final  version  would  be 
edited  in  light  of  their  criticisms.  Nothing  of  the  sort 
happened.  The  SWP-edited  version  was  published  with  the 
"democratic  rights"  axis  intact  and  the  apologetics  for 
Soares  unchanged. 

Moreno  broke  with  the  SWP  over  this  document, 
although  he  was  hard-put  to  explain  his  support  for  earlier 
LTF  positions  in  the  same  tenor.  (He  didn't  even  try  to 
harmonize  his  new-found  leftist  verbiage  with  the  PSTs 
own  shameful  declarations  of  support  for  the  "institutional 
process"  in  Argentina  against  left-wing  guerrillas!)  But  the 
LCE  leadership  capitulated  miserably.  The  declaration  of 
the  PST's  Bolshevik  Tendency  documents  this: 

"The  SWP's  positions  on  Portugal  were  resisted  from  the 
beginning  by  90  percent  of  the  faction,  which  in  criticizing  the 
draft  Key  Issues  demanded  that  the  issue  of  the  organs  of 
power  be  posed.  The  clearest  and  most  brilliant  opposition 
came  from  the  leadership  of  the  Spanish  LTF —  For 
obscure  reasons  that  escape  us,  the  Spanish  leadership  of  the 
ITF  capitulated  completely  to  the  SWP  and  accepted  the 
second  version  of  Key  /.wu«. .  .which  says  practically  the 
same  as  the  former.  This  provoked  a  crisis  in  the  faction  in 
Spain  " 

[SWP]  Iniernational  Internal  Discussion  Bulletin, 
January  1977 

This  pitiful  right  turn  by  the  LCE  leadership  on  Portugal 
was  soon  manifested  in  its  political  positions  on  domestic 
issues  as  well,  where  it  took  over  the  SWP's  reformist 
recipes  lock,  stock  and  barrel.  Tailing  Soares  in  Portugal,  it 
was  only  logical  that  the  LCE  should  crawl  after  Spanish 
social-democratic  leader  Felipe  Gonzalez  at  home. 

In  the  past  the  LCE  had  insisted  on  unconditional 
submission  to  the  discipline  of  the  Stahnist-dominated 
workers  commissions  (CC.OO.),  sharply  criticizing  the 
LCR  for  seeking  to  go  around  the  CC.OO.  at  the  height  of 
the  1973  Pamplona  strike  movement,  for  instance.  But  in 
late  1976  the  LCE  switched  horses,  abruptly  exiting  from 
the  CC.OO.,  charging  suppression  of  democratic  rights  by 
the  Communist  Party  (which  had  always  been  the  case) 
and  joining  up  with  the  social-democratic  UGT  union 
federation.  However,  in  doing  so  it  remained  true  to  its 
tailist  conceptions  of  "strategic  unity"  with  the  reformist 
misleaders,  as  indicated  in  the  following  statement  by  LCE- 
supported  trade  unionists  on  joining  the  UGT: 

"We  accept  the  statutes  and  decisions  of  the  UGT  congress 
and  we  are  not  going  to  struggle  to  destroy  it.  Rather  we  will 
strengthen  the  UGT  and  be  a  sector  of  its  left  wing  which 
fights  for  unity  and  for  the  socialist  society." 
Camhio  16.  18  October  1976 

We  are  unable,  with  the  limited  material  at  our  disposal, 
to  make  a  comprehensive  critique  of  the  LCE's  policy  in 
Spain  today.  But  with  its  pitiful  capitulation  before  Soares 
and  adoption  of  the  SWP's  social-democratic  policies  in 
tola,  any  remaining  subjectively  revolutionary  impulses  of 
its  membership  can  only  end  in  frustration.  The  road  to  a 
revolutionary  policy  in  Spain  today  requires  openly 
rejecting  and  combatting  the  LCE's  undisguised  anti- 
Trotskyist  revisionism. 


6  June  1975 
Dear  Comrades, 

We  gladly  accept  the  invitation  by  Comrade  M.  to 
initiate  correspondence  between  the  international  Sparta- 
cist  tendency  and  the  LCE.  We  must  make  clear,  however, 
that  we  are  not  familiar  with  your  political  views  on  a  whole 
range  of  important  subjects.  Thus  a  main  purpose  of  this 
letter  is  to  determine  whether  a  basis  for  organization-to- 
organization  discussions  exists. 

It  should  be  explained  at  the  outset  why  we  take  this 
opportunity  seriously.  The  LCE  appears  to  us  to  be  one  of 
the  subjectively  most  serious  and  leftist  groups  in  the 
swamp  that  goes  by  the  name  of  the  "United  Secretariat." 
And  unlike  the  petty-bourgeois  radicals  of  the  Internation- 
al Majority  Tendency  (IMT),  your  organization  seems  to 
be  attracted  by  the  (fraudulent)  appeal  to  Marxist 
orthodoxy  of  the  misnamed  "Leninist-Trotskyist  Faction" 
(LTF). 

But  no  communist  can  feel  anything  but  utter  contempt 
for  your  international  bloc  partners,  the  consummate 
reformists  of  the  American  Socialist  Workers  Party  and 
the  Argentine  Partido  Socialista  de  los  Trabajadores!  The 
SWP  and  PST  are  sworn  enemies  of  proletarian  revolu- 
tion: behind  the  quotations  from  Lenin  and  Trotsky  they 
use  to  refute  IMT  guerrillaism  lies  a  cringing  fear  of 
angering  their  own  bourgeoisies. 

We  detect  an  important  difference  between  the  LCE  and 
the  SWP/ PST,  however.  The  latter  are  simply  cynical 
impostors  who  roundly  condemn  the  popular-frontist 
policies  of  the  IMT,  then  turn  around  and  practice  even 
more  shameless  class  collaboration  in  their  national 
habitats.  In  contrast,  the  Liga  Comunista  has  vigorously 
denounced  popular  frontism  at  home  as  well  as  when 
perpetrated  by  factional  opponents  abroad. 

While  in  no  sense  underrating  this  significant  distinction, 
we  must  also  take  seriously  the  fact  that  the  LCE  is  a 
sympathizing  organization  of  the  "United  Secretariat  of 
the  Fourth  International"  [USec],  which  is  neither  united 
nor  the  Fourth  International;  and  is  a  member  of  the 
"Leninist-Trotskyist  Faction,"  which  is  neither  Leninist 
nor  Trotskyist  nor,  for  that  matter,  a  faction.  The  Liga 
Comunista  thereby  appears  before  the  Spanish  proletariat 
as  a  supporter  of  a  fake  "International"  whose  other  local 
affiliate,  the  Liga  Comunista  Revolucionaria  (LCR),  is 
incapable  of  drawing  a  class  line  against  popular  frontism 
and  could  even  enter  at  any  moment  into  the  popular  front 
Assembly  of  Catalonia.  You  must  likewise  take  responsi- 
bility for  disgusting  betrayals  of  socialist  principle  by  the 
SWP  and  PST. 

To  take  two  of  the  most  recent  notorious  examples,  you 
are  certainly  well  aware  of  the  declarations  by  the  PST 
which  in  effect  give  "critical  support"  to  the  murderous 
Peronist  regime  in  Argentina,  and  of  the  SWP's  call  for 
federal  troops  to  Boston.  We  do  not  know  of  any  statement 
by  the  LCE  against  these  treacherous  expressions  of 
confidence  in  the  capitalist  state  by  leaders  of  the  LTF.  It 
would  be  foolish  to  hope  for  serious  organization-to- 
organization  discussions  without  a  condemnation  by  the 
Liga  Comunista  of  the  SWP's  call  for  federal  troops  and 
the  PST's  support  for  the  "continuity"  of  the  Argentine 


SPRING  1977 


7 


government.  And  it  is  obvious  that  for  any  serious 
revolutionary  such  a  condemnation  would  require  a  break 
with  the  politics  of  the  LTF. 

Such  a  break  cannot  be  accomplished  with  a  few  strokes 
of  the  pen.  What  is  needed  is  a  serious  investigation  of  the 
real  politics  of  the  SWP  and  PST,  and  a  frank  evaluation  of 
the  causes  of  the  LCE's  errors.  We  know  that  in  the  past 
leaders  of  the  Liga  Comunista  have  sought  to  seriously  re- 
examine some  of  their  past  positions.  When  a  representa- 
tive of  the  IMT  sought  to  drop  the  LCR's  previous  ultra- 
left  policy  toward  the  workers  commissions,  the 
Encrucijada  tendency  insisted  on  a  political  discussion  of 
the  origins  of  this  policy.  Will  you  show  the  same 
determination  now?  With  hundreds  of  leftist  militants 
arrested  by  and  assassinated  with  the  connivance  of  the 
government  whose  "continuity"  is  supported  by  Coral  & 
Co.,  half-hearted  "criticisms"  of  certain  "formulations"  by 
the  PST  are  not  enough! 

Why  is  the  Liga  Comunista  aligned  with  the  LTF  in  the 
first  place?  At  present  we  lack  the  information  to  answer 
this  question.  In  the  event,  however,  that  you  have  taken 
seriously  the  occasionally  orthodox-sounding  verbiage  of 
Joe  Hansen's  factional  documents,  and  that  you  are  not 
fully  familiar  with  the  actual  practice  of  the  SWP  and  PST, 
one  aim  of  this  letter  is  to  demonstrate  the  total  fraudulence 
of  any  pretense  to  Trotskyism  by  these  charlatans  and 
expose  the  origins  of  their  opportunist  policies:  Pabloism. 
(The  LCE's  concept  of  a  united  front  "strategy"  is  also 
taken  up.) 

A  Social  Democrat  and  a  Chameleon 

Statements  by  the  PST  during  the  last  15  months 
have  been  so  openly  class-collaborationist  that  one  would 
have  to  be  blind  not  to  see  the  gulf  that  separates  these 
reformist  social  democrats  from  revolutionary  Trotskyism. 
In  a  joint  declaration  with  the  CP  and  six  bourgeois  parties 
presented  to  General  Peron  on  21  March,  1974,  the  PST 
promised  to  adhere  to  "the  institutional  process"  and 
condemned  all  those  (e.g.,  communists)  who  seek  to  change 
it.  This  statement  unambiguously  supports  capitalist  "law 
and  order,"  at  least  implicitly  siding  with  the  government 
and  liberal  bourgeois  parties  against  leftist  guerrillas  such 
as  the  ERP/PRT  [Ejercito  Revolucionario  del 
Pueblo/ Partido  Revolucionario  de  los  Trabajadores]. 

The  implication  was  made  explicit  in  a  statement  by  PST 
leader  Juan  Carlos  Coral  to  the  "multi-sectorial"  meeting 
with  President  Isabel  Peron  on  October  8,  where  that 
phony  socialist  declared  the  guerrillas  to  be  a  "mirror- 
image"  of  the  rightist  death  squads  (AAA).  Coral's  speech 
included  a  statement  which  can  only  be  interpreted  as  a 
declaration  of  political  support  for  the  Peronist  regime: 
"we  will  fight  for  the  continuity  of  this  government,"  said 
the  representative  of  the  "Trotskyist"  PST  {Avanzada 
Socialista,  15  October  1974)! 

These  statements  conciliating  the  Peronist  government 
are  nothing  new.  The  PST's "theoretician"  Nahuel  Moreno 
has  been  playing  this  game  for  decades,  for  a  dozen  years 
with  the  toleration  of  the  United  Secretariat.  The  facts  are 
no  secret,  and  we  have  dealt  with  them  at  length  in  an 
article  ("Argentina:  The  Struggle  Against  Peronism," 
Workers  VanguardNo.  24,  6  July  1973)  which  is  attached. 
Suffice  it  to  say  that  during  the  late  1950's  and  early  1960's 
Moreno  put  out  the  magazine  Palabra  Obrera,  which 


called  itself  the  "organ  of  revolutionary  workers  Peronism" 
and  claimed  to  be  issued  "under  the  discipline  of  General 
Peron  and  the  Peronist  Supreme  Council"!  More  recently. 
Coral/ Moreno  offered  to  vote  for  the  Peronist  slate  if  80 
percent  of  Justicialista  candidates  were  workers  (AS,  22 
November  1972)  and  told  Peronist  President  Hector 
Campora  he  could  "count  on  our  proletarian  solidarity" 
(AS,  30  May-6  June  1973). 

So  if  today  the  PST  capitulates  to  the  Peron 
government,  you  can  not  blame  this  on  misformulations  or 
an  alleged  recent  turn.  Nor  are  these  betrayals  solely  the 
responsibility  of  Coral  (who  is  merely  the  social  democrat 
he  always  has  been)  and  Moreno  (a  political  chameleon 
who  is  just  doing  what  comes  naturally).  To  fight  for  the 
Marxist  principle  of  working-class  independence  it  is 
necessary  to  break  with  Hansen  and  Mandel  who  for  years 
gave  a  "left"  cover  to  Moreno's  machinations. 

For  example:  Moreno  and  Hansen  now  bitterly  attack 
the  IMT's  Guevarism,  but  in  the  early  and  mid-1960's  they 
wholeheartedly  supported  peasant  guerrilla  war,  at  least  on 
paper.  Moreno  was  at  this  time  the  most  guerrillaist  of 
them  all.  "History  ...  has  rejected  the  theory  that  the 
proletariat,  in  the  backward  countries,  is  the  revolutionary 
leadership,"  he  wrote  in  1961,  thereby  throwing  the 
Transitional  Program  and  the  theory  of  permanent 
revolution  out  the  window.  It  is  necessary  to  "synthesize 
the  correct  general  theory  and  program  (Trotskyist)  with 
the  correct  particular  theory  and  program  (Mao  Tse- 
tungist  or  Castroist),"  he  added  (N.  Moreno,  La  revolucion 
latinoamericana). 

If  a  wing  of  the  Partido  Revolucionario  de  los 
Trabajadores  (PRT),  a  section  of  the  United  Secretariat 
founded  and  "educated"  by  Moreno,  was  subsequently  to 
undertake  urban  and  rural  guerrilla  warfare,  hailing  "our 
main  Comandante,  Che  Guevara"  and  welcoming  "the 
contributions  that  Trotsky,  Kim  II  Sung,  Mao  Tse-tung, 
Ho  Chi  Minh  and  General  Giap  have  made  for  the 
revolution"  (Roberto  Santucho,  quoted  in  Intercontinent- 
al Press,  27  November  1972),  the  cause  is  not  to  be  sought 
in  the  Latin  American  resolution  of  the  "Ninth  World 
Congress."  Hansen  and  Moreno  are  just  as  responsible  as 
Mandel,  just  a  bit  more  "cautious"  when  putting  their 
words  into  practice. 

Do  you  wish  to  go  to  the  origins  of  petty-bourgeois 
guerrillaism  in  the  United  Secretariat?  If  so,  you  must  reject 
the  very  founding  document  of  the  USec,  "For  Early 
Reunification  of  the  World  Trotskyist  Movement"  (written 
by  the  SWP  majority  in  March  1963),  which  stated  that 
"guerrilla  warfare  conducted  by  landless  peasants  and 
semi-proletarian  forces,  under  a  leadership  that  becomes 
committed  to  carrying  the  revolution  through  to  a 
conclusion,  can  play  a  decisive  role  in  undermining  and 
precipitating  the  downfall  of  a  colonial  and  semi-colonial 
power."  The  Revolutionary  Tendency  of  the  SWP, 
forerunner  of  the  Spartacist  League/ U.S.,  replied: 
"peasant-based  guerrilla  warfare  under  petit-bourgeois 
leadership  can  in  itself  lead  to  nothing  more  than  an  anti- 
working-class  bureaucratic  regime  Colonial  revolution 

can  have  an  unequivocally  progressive  revolutionary 
significance  only  under  such  [Marxist]  leadership  of  the 
revolutionary  proletariat"  ("Toward  the  Rebirth  of  the 
continued  on  next  page 


8 


SPARTACIST 


Liga  Comunista... 

Fourth  lnternational,"  June  1963).  Hansen's  opposition  to 
guerrillaism  is  a  phony! 

Not  an  International  But  a  Non-Aggression  Pact 

Thus  the  very  founding  of  the  United  Secretariat 
was  based  on  rejection  of  the  theory  of  permanent 
revolution  and  the  indispensable  leading  role  of  the 
working  class  under  its  Trotskyist  vanguard  party.  For  the 
patriarchs  of  the  former  International  Secretariat  (Ernest 
Mandel,  Livio  Maitan,  Pierre  Frank)  this  was  simply  a 
continuation  of  the  Pabloist  liquidationism  they  had  been 
expounding  since  the  early  1950's.  From  Pablo's  "deep 
entry"  into  the  Stalinist  parties  to  the  U See's  cheerleading 
for  Castro,  these  professional  capitulators  have  apologized 
for  one  non-proletarian  misleader  after  another. 

The  SWP  resisted  Pablo's  program  of  liquidating  into 
the  reformist  parties  in  the  1950's,  albeit  after  considerable 
hesitation.  But  following  the  ravages  of  McCarthyism 
against  the  U.S.  left  the  party  increasingly  succumbed  to 
the  pressures  of  isolation.  When  the  Cuban  Revolution 
came  along,  Hansen  declared  the  new  regime  to  be  a 
healthy  workers  state  ("although  lacking  the  forms  of 
workers  democracy"!)  thereby  hoping  to  bask  in  its 
popularity.  Only  the  Revolutionary  Tendency  took  the 
position  that  Cuba  was  a  qualitatively  deformed  workers 
state,  that  an  independent  Trotskyist  party  was  necessary 
to  lead  a  political  revolution  ousting  the  Stalinist  bureauc- 
racy and  instituting  democratic  soviet  rule.  The  six- 
year-old  crisis  in  the  "United"  Secretariat  is  a  direct  result 
of  its  Pabloist  policies.  Not  only  was  there  no  "turn"  at  the 
Ninth  Congress  (except  to  play  at  putting  into  practice  the 
hitherto  exclusively  verbal  guerrillaism),  but  if  "uncon- 
scious Marxists"  (Castro)  can  replace  the  Trotskyists  and 
"blunted  instruments"  (peasant  guerrilla  bands)  can 
accomplish  the  tasks  of  the  Leninist  party,  then  why 
shouldn't  all  manner  of  social-democratic,  semi-Maoist 
and  Guevarist  elements  be  included  in  "the  International"? 

Such  a  federated  rotten  bloc  of  widely  disparate  forces  is 
organically  incapable  of  achieving  Marxist  clarity  or 
coherent  revolutionary  action,  as  the  USec  has  amply 
demonstrated.  What  is  the  "United"  Secretariat's  position 
on  Chile,  for  instance?  The  SWP  says  Allende's  Popular 
Unity  coalition  was  a  popular  front,  but  the  IMT  and  PST 
deny  this.  Indochina?  The  IMT  considers  the  Vietnamese 
Stalinists  to  be  revolutionaries  who  havejust  accomplished 
"the  first  victorious  'permanent  revolution'"  since  Cuba, 
while  the  SWP  refused  to  take  sides  in  the  class  war  in 
Indochina  and  currently  holds  that  South  Vietnam  is  still 
capitalist! 

What  of  the  Portuguese  Armed  Forces  Movement,  the 
French  Union  of  the  Left,  the  Chinese  "Cultural  Revolu- 
tion," guerrilla  warfare,  individual  terrorism?  On  none  of 
these  vital  issues  is  there  a  common  USec  position,  and  in 
line  with  its  Menshevik  conception  of  democratic  central- 
ism the  opposing  policies  are  duly  published  in  the  press  of 
the  respective  sections.  No  wonder,  then,  that  everywhere 
there  are  substantial  numbers  of  LTF  and  IMT  supporters 
in  the  same  country  there  have  been  splits  or  separate 
organizations  (Argentina,  Australia,  Canada,  Mexico, 
Peru,  Portugal  and  the  U.S.). 


Already  at  the  founding  of  the  USec  in  1963  its  character 
as  an  unprincipled  non-aggression  pact  was  demonstrated 
by  sweeping  under  the  rug  important  differences  on  the 
1953  split,  China  and  other  topics.  Another  element  of  the 
bogus  "reunification"  was  a  tacit  agreement  not  to 
denounce  each  other's  betrayals,  in  order  to  maintain 
"unity."  In  a  recent  public  factional  polemic  against  the 
USec  majority,  the  PST  captured  this  point  nicely.  Why,  it 
asked,  does  Mandel  attack  the  PST  for  making  joint 
declarations  with  bourgeois  politicians  vet  remain  silent 
about  the  SWP's  "antiwar"  coalitions  with  prominent 
liberal  Democrats? 

"We  should  like  to  remind  them  [the  IMT  leadership]  that  at 
the  height  of  the  antiwar  movement  in  the  United  States, 
quite  a  few  petty  bourgeois  and  even  bourgeois  figures 
sought  to  share  the  platform  in  the  giant  rallies  that  were 
staged  at  the  time.  The  Trotskyists  in  the  United  States  did 
not  oppose  this.  In  fact  they  favored  it. 
"But  how  the  ultralefts  screamed!  They  considered  this  to  be 
proof  positive  that  the  Socialist  Workers  party  had  formed 
an  'interclass  political  bloc'  with  the  liberal  wing  of  the 
Democratic  party,  thereby  falling  into  the  Social  Democratic 
'policy'  of  class  coUaborationism.  It  is  one  of  the  main 
'proofs'  still  thrown  at  the  SWP  by  the  ultralefts  in  the  United 
States  (and  elsewhere)  to  bolster  the  charge  that  the  SWP  has 
'degenerated,'  turned  'reformist.'  and  'betrayed'  the  working 
class." 

—  Intercontinental  Press,  20  January  1975 
The  "ultra-lefts"  who  denounced  the  SWP's  class- 
collaborationist  antiwar  coalitions  were,  of  course,  the 
Spartacist  League,  and  the  PST  leaders  make  an  important 
point  in  demonstrating  the  IMT's  inconsistency.  But 
Mandel  well  understands  that  to  accuse  the  SWP  of  class 
coUaborationism  in  its  main  area  of  work  for  half  a  decade 
means  irrevocably  splitting  the  USec  down  the  middle  and 
destroying  its  claim  to  be  the  Fourth  International. 

Class  Collaboration  and  the  Antiwar  Movement 

The  Socialist  Workers  Party  policy  in  the  antiwar 
movement  of  the  late  I960's  is,  in  fact,  a  classic  example  of 
its  reformist  policies.  "Single-issue"  coalition-building 
against  the  Vietnam  war  dominated  the  activities  of  the 
SWP  from  1965  to  1971  and  won  most  of  the  party's 
present  membership.  It  was  in  this  school  of  class 
collaboration  that  they  were  educated,  and  we  can  assure 
you  that  even  among  reformist  Maoists  and  pro-Moscow 
Stalinists  the  SWP  was  notorious  as  the  most  right-wing 
"socialist"  element  in  the  antiwar  movement.  The  Maoists 
called  for  victory  of  the  N  LF  (at  least  until  the  1 973  "peace" 
accords),  but  the  SWP  consistently  refused  to  take  sides  in 
the  class  war  raging  in  Indochina  (claiming  the  issue  was 
solely  self-determination).  Even  the  CPUSA  was  able  to 
posture  to  the  left  of  the  SWP,  by  seeking  to  build  multi- 
issue  coalitions  (most  notably  the  "People's  Coalition  for 
Peace  and  Justice").  The  SWP  attacked  them  as  "sectari- 
an" since  they  would  scare  off  potential  opponents  of  the 
war  who  disagreed  on  other  points. 

The  essence  of  the  SWP's  antiwar  "strategy"  was 
expressed  in  a  22  November  1965  Militant  article  which 
called  for  "put[ting]  aside  sectarian  differences  to  unite  and 
help  build  a  national  organization  which  can  encompass 
anyone  willing  to  oppose  U.S.  involvement  in  Vietnam, 
regardless  of  their  commitment,  or  lack  of  it,  on  other 
questions."  What  Hansen  &  Co.  sought  was  a  common 


SPRING  1977 


9 


organization  with  bourgeois  antiwar  groups  and  liberal 
capitalist  politicians  who,  understandably,  "lack  commit- 
ment" to  wage  a  working-class  struggle  against  the  war. 

This  did  not  simply  remain  on  paper  as  unrealized 
opportunist  appetites.  As  early  as  the  autumn  of  1965  the 
SWP  acted  as  a  broker  to  cement  the  "Fifth  Avenue  Peace 
Parade  Committee,"  formed  around  a  single  slogan,  "Stop 
the  War  Now!"  and  a  caH  fur  tiie  removal  of  "all  foreign 
troops"  from  South  Vietnam.  This  not  only  endorsed  the 
U.S.  government  position  condemning  "North  Vietnamese 
aggression,"  but  avoided  the  fundamental  obligation  of 
proletarian  solidarity,  namely  to  call  for  victory  to  the 
Vietnamese  revolution. 

A  similar  class-collaborationist  formation  was  the 
National  Peace  Action  Coalition  (NPAC)  set  up  by  the 
SWP  in  the  late  1960's.  Far  from  being  an  ad  hoc  bloc  for 
the  purpose  of  holding  a  demonstration,  the  SWP- 
dominated  NPAC  was  an  ongoing  organization  with  a 
distinct  political  line  and  a  board  including  Democratic 
Senator  Vance  Hartke.  Even  before  Hartke's  participation, 
however,  NPAC's  popular-front  character  was  demon- 
strated by  its  refusal  to  raise  any  demand  beyond  "Out 
Now!"  and  its  policy  of  building  rallies  which  focused  on 
bourgeois  politicians  (Hartke,  IVIayor  John  Lindsay, 
Senators  George  McGovern  and  Eugene  McCarthy,  etc.). 
It  was  no  accident  that  every  election  year  (1966,  1968, 
1970,  1972),  when  Democratic  Party  "peace"  candidates 
would  mount  their  campaigns,  the  "independent"  mass 
antiwar  movement  would  simply  disappear.  And  the 
SWP's  refusal  to  call  for  solidarity  with  the  Indochinese 
revolution  guaranteed  that  NPAC  would  disintegrate  as 
soon  as  large-scale  withdrawal  of  U.S.  troops  began. 

In  contrast,  the  Spartacist  League  fought  against  the 
U.S.'s  imperialist  war  on  a  class  basis.  Our  demands 
included  "no  liberal  bourgeois  speakers  at  antiwar  rallies," 
"labor  political  strikes  against  the  war,"  "break  with  the 
Democrats  and  Republicans — form  a  workers  party," 
"smash  imperialism — all  U.S.  troops  out  of  Asia  now,"  and 
"victory  to  the  Indochinese  revolution — no  confidence  in 
sellout  'leaders'  at  home  or  abroad."  One  demand  which 
invariably  aroused  the  ire  of  the  SWP  "marshals"  at  all  the 
demonstrations  was  "All  Indochina  Must  Go 
Communist." 

Our  policy  was  entirely  consonant  with  the  Leninist 
program  that  imperialist  war  can  only  be  fought  by 
revolutionary  class  struggle.  Commenting  on  the  Zimmer- 
wald  conference  Lenin  referred  to  "the  fundamental  idea  of 
our  resolution  that  a  struggle  for  peace  without  a 
revolutionary  struggle  is  but  an  empty  and  false  phrase, 
that  the  only  way  to  put  an  end  to  the  horrors  of  war  is  by  a 
revolutionary  struggle  for  socialism"  ("The  First  Step," 
October  1915).  But  you  will  look  in  vain  in  the  SWP's 
extensive  articles  on  the  Vietnam  war  and  in  numerous 
NPAC  demonstrations  and  meetings  for  even  a  breath  of 
revolutionary  class  struggle. 

There  is  an  important  parallel  here  to  the  antiwar 
coalitions  of  the  CPUSA  in  the  1930's.  In  an  SWP 
pamphlet  entitled,  "The  People's  Front:  The  New  Betray- 
al," James  Burnham  wrote  in  1937: 

"Most  significant  of  all  is  the  application  of  the  People's 
Front  policy  to  'anti-war  work."  Through  a  multitude  of 
pacifist  organizations,  and  especially  through  the  directly 
controlled  American  League  against  War  and  Fascism,  the 


Stalinists  aim  at  the  creation  of  a  'broad,  classless,  Peoples' 
Front  of  all  those  opposed  to  war.'  The  class  collaborationist 
character  of  the  Peoples'  Front  policy  is  strikingly  revealed 
through  the  Stalinist  attitude  in  these  organizations.  They 
rule  out  in  advance  the  Marxist  analysis  of  war  as  necessarily 
resulting  from  the  inner  conflicts  of  capitalism  and  therefore 
genuinely  opposed  only  by  revolutionary  class  struggle 
against  the  capitalist  order;  and,  in  contrast,  maintain  that  all 
persons,  from  whatever  social  class  or  group,  whether  or  not 
opposed  to  capitalism  can  'unite'  to  stop  war." 

This  is  a  letter-perfect  description  of  the  SWP's  action  in 
NPAC. 

The  most  dramatic  expression  of  the  popular-front 
character  of  N  P AC  came  at  its  July  1 97 1  conference  in  New 
York  City.  The  meeting  was  attended  by  Senator  Hartke 
and  by  Victor  Reuther,  a  vice  president  of  the  United  Auto 
Workers  who  was  involved  in  channeling  CIA  funds  to 
anti-communist  unionists  in  Europe  after  World  War  II.  A 
Spartacist  League  motion  called  for  the  exclusion  of 
bourgeois  politicians  like  Hartke  from  the  conference;  the 
SWP  chairman  refused  to  vote  the  motion.  Later,  when 
Hartke  and  Reuther  spoke  they  were  heckled  by  supporters 
of  the  Spartacist  League  and  Progressive  Labor.  The  SWP 
then  mobilized  its  marshals  and  charged  the  protesters, 
injuring  several  of  them  with  vicious  beatings.  The  next  day 
SL  and  PL  supporters  were  excluded  from  the  conference 
(see  "SWP  Seals  Alliance  with  Bourgeoisie,"  Workers' 
Action  No.  10,  September  1971).  Unity  with  the  bosses, 
exclude  the  communists — this  was  the  SWP's  "independ- 
ent" antiwar  policy! 

These  fake  Trotskyists  call  for  and  built  organizations 
encompassing  "anyone  willing  to  oppose  U.S.  involvement 
in  Vietnam,  regardless  of  their  commitment  ...  on  other 
questions."  We  ask  you:  what  would  the  LCE  term  an 
organization  composed  of  all  those,  regardless  of  class, 
who  oppose  the  Franco  dictatorship?  And  what  would  you 
say  of  those  who  created  such  a  coalition?  Your  answer  in 
Spain  is  clear:  you  call  the  Assembly  of  Catalonia  a  popular 
front  (or  the  embryo  of  a  popular  front)  and  condemn  the 
class  collaborationism  of  the  Stalinists  who  build  it.  What 
do  you  say  about  the  U.S.? 

Federal  Troops  or  Labor/Black  Defense? 

We  could  go  on  at  length  concerning  the  SWP's  anti- 
Marxist  practice  in  every  arena:  sectoralism  (separate 
parties  for  blacks,  Chicanos;  "self-determination"  for 
everyone  including  Indians,  homosexuals,  women,  etc.); 
support  for  the  labor  bureaucracy  against  "disruptive" 
rank-and-file  militants;  blocs  with  bourgeois  feminists  in 
the  women's  liberation  movement  (and  consequent  refusal 
to  raise  the  demand  for  free  abortion);  open  support  for 
,  strikebreaking  (in  the  1968  New  York  City  teachers 
strikes);  calls  for  "community  control"  (even  of  the  police); 
boundless  electoral  cretinism,  etc. 

During  recent  months  the  SWP  has  ever  more  openly 
stated  its  social-democratic  aspirations.  In  December  1974, 
in  order  to  convince  a  liberal  judge  that  there  was  no  need 
for  FBI  surveillance  of  its  youth  group,  an  official  SWP 
brief  to  the  court  declared  that  the  party  categorically 
renounced  "violence  or  any  other  illegal  activity."  Shortly 
afterwards  the  SWP  launched  its  "'76  Presidential  Drive" 
with  a  "Bill  of  Rights  for  working  people,"  a  reformist 

continued  on  next  page 


10 


SPARTACIST 


Liga  Comunista. . . 

gimmick  which  essentially  calls  for  reforming  capitalism 
out  of  existence  by  constitutional  amendment! 

Then,  in  an  interview  with  the  New  York  Times  (2 1  April 
1975),  SWP  presidential  candidate  Peter  Camejo  called  for 
"cutting  the  war  budget"  (i.e.,  not  eliminating  it),  "ending 
illegal  activity  of  C.I. A.  and  F.B.I,  harassment"  (i.e.,  not 
touching  the  legal  activities  of  these  anti-communist  special 
police),  and  "opposition  to  the  present  foreign  policy, 
which  we  characterize  as  imperialist"  (thus  spreading  the 
reformist  illusion  that  imperialism  could  be  eliminated  by 
voting  in  peace-loving  statesmen)!  Not  one  of  the  five 
demands  mentioned  by  Camejo  included  anything  that  has 
not  already  been  raised  by  left-liberal  Democratic 
congressmen. 

But  in  the  last  year  the  struggle  between  the  Marxist 
program  of  working-class  independence  and  reformist 
class  collaborationism  has  come  to  a  head  over  a  very 
specific  issue:  the  SWF's  call  for  "Federal  Troops  to 
Boston."  During  the  course  of  a  reactionary  mobilization 
against  school  desegregation  through  court-ordered 
busing,  there  have  been  a  number  of  racist  lynch-mob 
attacks  on  black  school  children  in  Boston.  So,  good 
reformists  that  they  are,  the  SWP  appeals  to  the  armed 
forces  of  the  capitalist  state — the  butchers  of  Indochina — 
to  protect  black  people! 

Revolutionaries  warn  the  working  masses  to  place  no 
confidence  in  the  bourgeois  state,  pointing  out  that  it 
defends  the  interests  of  the  capitalist  ruling  class  and  not 
those  of  the  exploited  and  oppressed.  While  it  is  perfectly 
correct  to  call  for  the  enforcement  of  a  law  supporting 
democratic  rights  (in  fact  the  Spartacist  League  was  among 
the  first  to  call  for  implementing  the  court-ordered  busing 
plan),  to  call  for  the  intervention  of  federal  troops 
expresses  confidence  that  they  will  defend  the  interests  of 
the  oppressed  black  minority.  Marxists  call  instead  for  the 
working  masses  to  rely  on  their  own  forces,  and  warn  that  if 
federal  troops  intervene  in  Boston  it  will  be  to  smash  any 
attempt  at  self-defense  by  the  black  population. 

In  Boston  the  Spartacist  League  called  for  the  formation 


SPARTACIST  LEAGUE/U.S. 
LOCAL  DIRECTORY 

BERKELEY/OAKLAND  (415)  835-1535 

Box  23372,  Oakland,  CA  94623 

Public  Office:  1634  Telegraph  (3rd  floor),  Oakland 
BOSTON  (617)  492-3928 

Box  188,  M  I  T.  Station,  Cambridge,  MA  02139 
CHICAGO   (312)  427-0003 

Box  6441,  Main  P.O.,  Chicago,  IL  60680 

Public  Office:  650  So.  Clark  (2nd  floor) 
CLEVELAND  (216)  281-4781 

Box  6765,  Cleveland,  OH  44101 
DETROIT  (313)  869-1551 

Box  663A,  GPO,  Detroit,  Ml  48232 
LOS  ANGELES  (213)  385-1962 

Box  26282,  Edendale  Sta.,  Los  Angeles,  CA  90026 
NEW  YORK  (212)  925-2426 

Box  1377,  GPO,  New  York,  NY  10001 

Public  Office:  260  W.  Broadway,  Rm.  522 
SAN  FRANCISCO  (415)  564-2845 

Box  5712,  San  Francisco,  CA  94101 
\  ) 


of  integrated  working-class  defense  guards  ("labor/ black 
defense")  for  the  schools,  children  and  black  communities 
endangered  by  racist  marauders.  This  Leninist  policy 
received  worldwide  press  coverage  in  photos  showing  our 
banners  in  Boston  demonstrations.  It  has  also  attracted 
support  from  a  number  of  black  militants.  The  SWF's 
response  was  to  denounce  our  call  for  an  integrated  labor 
defense  force  as  "ultra-left."  "The  call  for  trade-union 
defense  guards  isn't  realistic  right  now,"  said  Camejo  in  the 
Militant  (1  November  1974),  "...you  pull  this  slogan  of 
trade-union  guards  totally  out  of  the  blue.  It's  not  a  serious 
proposal." 

Hansen  has  prettied  up  SWF  policies  on  the  Boston 
busing  crisis  for  international  consumption  in  a  lengthy 
article  in  Intercontinental  Press  (25  November  1974)  in 
which  he  even  labeled  the  SL  call  for  labor/ black  defense 
"a  commendable  stand."  This  is  simply  eyewash  for  the 
uninformed.  Not  once  did  the  SWP  ever  raise  such  a 
demand  in  Boston  (or  anywhere  else)  during  the  past  year. 
On  the  contrary,  at  the  December  14  demonstration  in 
Boston,  when  the  SL  contingent  chanted  "No  Federal 
Troops— Labor /Black  Defense!"  a  nearby  SWP  contin- 
gent began  to  chant  "Federal  Troops  to  Boston!"  in  an 
effort  to  drown  us  out. 

A  sharp  line  has  been  drawn  over  the  issue  of  federal 
troops  to  Boston:  the  reformist  SWP  and  CP,  together  with 
black  Democrats  and  the  liberal  Democratic  mayor  of 
Boston,  call  for  the  intervention  of  military  forces  of  the 
capitalist  state;  the  Spartacist  League  calls  for  independent 
working-class  action,  for  labor/ black  defense.  It  is  the 
internationalist  obligation  of  ostensibly  revolutionary 
forces  to  take  sides  on  this  issue.  To  date,  however,  not  one 
section  of  the  United  Secretariat  has  publicly  opposed  the 
open  revisionism  of  the  SWP  on  the  central  issue  of  the 
class  character  of  the  state  and  the  attitude  of  revolutiona- 
ries toward  it.  Where  does  the  LCE  stand? 

Trotsky,  in  any  case,  put  forward  a  revolutionary  policy. 
He  wrote  in  "War  and  the  Fourth  International"  (1934): 
"To  turn  to  the  state,  that  is,  to  capital,  with  the  demand  to 
disarm  the  fascists  means  to  sow  the  worst  democratic 
illusions,  to  lull  the  vigilance  of  the  proletariat,  to  demoralize 

its  will  The  Social  Democrats,  even  the  most  left  ones, 

that  is,  those  who  are  ready  to  repeat  general  phrases  of 

INTERNATIONAL  SPARTACIST 
TENDENCY  DIRECTORY 

LIGUE  TROTSKYSTE  DE  FRANCE 
Pascal  Alessandri 
B  P.  336,  75011  Paris 

LONDON  SPARTACIST  GROUP 
BCM  Box  4272 
London,  WC1V  6XX 

SPARTACIST  LEAGUE  OF  AUSTRALIA/NEW  ZEALAND 
GPO  Box  3473 
Sydney,  NSW,  2001,  Australia 

SPARTACIST  LEAGUE/U.S. 
Box  1377,  GPO 
New  York,  NY  10001 

TROTSKYIST  LEAGUE  OF  CANADA 
Box  7198.  Station  A 
Toronto,  Ontario 

TROTZKISTISCHE  LIGA  DEUTSCHLANDS 
Postfach  1 1  0647 
1  Berlin  11 

v  / 


SPRING  1977 


11 


revolution  and  the  dictatorship  of  the  proletariat,  carefully 
avoid  the  question  of  arming  the  workers,  or  openly  declare 
this  task  'chimerical,'  'adventurous,'  'romantic,'  etc." 

Commenting  on  this  quotation,  the  Bolshevik-Leninist 
Faction  (whose  leading  member  was  recently  expelled  from 
the  central  committee  of  the  French  Ligue  Communiste 
Revolutionnaire  [LCR])  wrote:  "'Romantic'  said  the  left 
social  democrats  in  1933,  'unrealistic'  Camejo  tells  us;  the 
years  pass,  but  the  vocabulary  of  the  social  democrats 
hardly  changes!"  {Spartacist  [edition  frangaise]  No.  9,  16 
May  1975). 

We  are  enclosing  articles  from  our  press  which  deal  with 
this  controversy  over  federal  troops  to  Boston.  Some  of  the 
most  recent  ones  deal  with  the  "realism"  of  calling  for 
labor/  black  defense  in  a  concrete  manner:  by  reporting  the 
formation  of  a  union  defense  committee  to  protect  the 
home  of  a  black  member  from  racist  attacks.  This  action, 
by  United  Auto  Workers  Local  6  in  Chicago,  came  as  the 
result  of  a  motion  by  the  Labor  Struggle  Caucus  of  that 
union,  one  of  whose  members  heads  the  defense  squad.  The 
Caucus  is  a  class-struggle  opposition  grouping  politically 
supported  by  the  Spartacist  League. 

United  Front:  Tactic  or  Strategy? 

We  have  attempted  to  study  carefully  the  press  of  the 
Liga  Comunista  in  order  to  form  a  considered  opinion  of 
your  political  positions  and  practice.  We  note  in  the  first 
place  that  it  is  very  heavily  centered  on  the  Iberian 
peninsula,  and  consequently  we  are  not  aware  of  your 
views  on  a  number  of  important  issues  (including  Cuba, 
Ireland,  Near  East  wars,  petty-bourgeois  nationalism  in 
various  countries).  Also,  since  we  only  have  the  first 
volume  of  the  resolutions  of  your  second  congress,  we 
would  appreciate  receiving  any  additional  documents 
available. 

A  large  part  of  Comfta/e  and  the  provincial  organs  of  the 
LCE  is  taken  up  (correctly)  by  discussion  of  workers 
struggles  and  the  student  arena.  Concerning  the  1973 
general  strike  in  Pamplona,  the  strike  wave  in  the  Bajo 
Llobregat  in  1974  and  other  important  strikes  we  have 
sought  to  compare  accounts  published  by  the  LCE,  LCR, 
ORT  [Organizacion  Revolucionaria  de  los  Trabajadores] 
and  Maoist  groups  to  the  extent  that  they  are  available  to 
us.  While  we  have  gained  impressions,  some  important 
questions  are  still  not  clarified  for  us,  and  in  any  case  it  is 
risky  to  judge  particular  trade-union  struggles  from  afar. 
We  would,  however,  like  to  comment  on  your  concept  of  a 
strategic  united  front  and,  at  a  general  level,  its  relationship 
to  the  tasks  of  revolutionaries  concerning  the  workers 
commissions. 

In  your  letter  to  the  central  committee  of  the  French 
Ligue  Communiste  ("Regarding  the  Positions  Taken  by 
the  Ligue  Communiste  in  the  Legislative  Elections  of 
March  1973,"  June  1973,  [SWP]  International  Internal 
Discussion  Bulletin  No.  5,  January  1974),  the  LCE  states: 
"To  the  sell-out  leaderships'  strategic  line  of  united  front 
with  the  bourgeoisie,  concretized  at  this  time  in  a  Union  of 
the  Left  that  is  unable  to  even  fight  Pompidou,  it  required 
counterposing  the  revolutionary  strategy  of  the  class  united 
front,  able  to  polarize  the  oppressed  masses  of  the  city  and 
countryside  around  the  proletariat"  (emphasis  in  original). 
The  same  idea  is  repeated  elsewhere  in  the  documents  of  the 


Liga  Comunista  in  different  forms,  usually  referring  to  a 
"Class  Pact"  as  the  alternative  "counterposed  on  all  levels" 
to  the  popular  front. 

As  you  are  well  aware,  the  concept  of  a  "united  front 
strategy"  has  been  used  by  the  French  OCl  [Organisation 
Communiste  Internationaliste]  to  justify  its  policy  of 
tailing  after  the  present  reformist  leadership  of  the  class. 
The  most  disgusting  application  of  this  capitulationist  line 
was  the  OCI's  call  for  a  vote  for  Mitterrand,  the  single 
candidate  of  the  popular-front  Union  of  the  Left,  in  last 
year's  French  presidential  elections.  We  do  not  wish  to 
make  an  amalgam,  equating  the  LCE  with  the  policy  of 
Lambert,  and  we  are  aware  that  you  have  criticized  the 
latter  as  constituting  "an  elevation  of  the  tactical  methods 
of  the  united  front  ...  to  a  strategic  principle"  ("The  Crisis 
of  the  LCR  and  the  En  Marcha  Split,"  in  [SWP] 
International  Internal  Discussion  Bulletin,  Vol.  10,  No.  24, 
December  1973). 

However,  the  line  of  a  "strategy  of  the  class  united  front" 
leads  ultimately  to  just  the  conclusion  the  OCl  has  reached. 
The  global  alternative  to  the  class  collaborationist  policies 
of  the  reformists  is  not  an  all-embracing  united  front  of  the 
organizations  claiming  to  represent  the  working  class  nor  a 
mythical  "class  pact,"  but  rather  the  Marxist  program  of 
the  Leninist  vanguard  party.  To  demand  that  the  Stalinists 
and  social  democrats  break  an  electoral  coalition  with 
bourgeois  parties,  to  call  on  the  reformists  to  fight  for 
particular  demands  in  the  interests  of  the  class  is  both 
principled  and  necessary;  it  enables  us  to  demonstrate 
graphically  before  the  masses  the  fact  that  these  treacher- 
ous misleaders  are  enemies  of  proletarian  revolution.  But 
to  imply  that  the  agents  of  the  bourgeoisie  in  the  workers 
movement  are  capable  of  taking  up  the  full  revolutionary 
program  of  the  Trotskyist  party  is  to  confuse  the  masses, 
hiding  from  them  the  counterrevolutionary  program  of  the 
reformists  and  the  absolute  necessity  of  an  independent 
Trotskyist  party. 

We  are  aware  that  the  LCE  warns  of  the  treachery  of  the 
Stalinists  and  emphasizes  the  need  for  a  Trotskyist  party. 
(So  does  the  OCl,  on  occasion.)  But  if,  as  you  state,  the 
united  front  encompasses  the  program  of  working-class 
independence  from  the  bourgeoisie  (as  opposed  to  being 
one  expression  of  it,  in  particular  circumstances);  and  if  the 
Stalinists  are  capable  of  taking  up  the  united  front — then 
surely  they  cease  to  be  reformists,  committed  at  all  costs  to 
the  maintenance  of  capitalist  rule.  This  is  definitely  implied 
in  your  "strategic  resolution"  of  the  second  congress  of  the 
LCE  ("Hacia  la  republica  socialista — Por  el  partido  de  la 
IV  Internacional")  where  the  following  is  said  in  a  reply  to 
imaginary  accusations  by  the  "apparatuses"  that  the  united 
front  is  simply  a  maneuver: 

"If  you  declare  yourselves  for  the  united  front  and  fight 
consistently  in  this  direction  the  working  class  will  be  greatly 
aided,  will  close  ranks  around  its  organizations  and  multiply 
the  impetus  of  its  sallies  against  the  capitalists  and  their 
regime.  Then  we  will  stop  judging  you  according  to  facts 
from  your  terrible  past  and  present  treacheries.  We  will  pay 
attention  to  the  new  facts." 

Comrades,  when  Trotsky  said  that  under  special 
circumstances  the  reformists  may  be  forced  to  go  farther 
than  they  intended,  he  did  not  mean  that  they  could  take  up 
the  full  revolutionary  program!  It  was  Pablo  who  said 
continued  on  next  page 


12 


SPARTACIST 


Liga  Comunista... 

this — and  he  was  consistent  with  his  "analyses,"  by  no 
longer  fighting  to  create  Trotskyist  parties  but  instead 
pressuring  for  the  reform  of  the  Stalinist  parties.  We  do  not 
believe  that  this  is  the  policy  of  the  Liga  Comunista,  but  it  is 
the  logical  end  result  of  your  concept  of  a  "strategy  of  the 
class  united  front." 

(We  draw  your  attention  to  the  section  on  the  united 
front  in  our  letter  to  the  OCI  and  OCRFI  [Spartacist  No. 
22,  Winter  1973-74]  for  further  observations  on  the  notion 
of  a  "united  front  strategy.") 

This  is  more  than  a  terminological  question.  The  OCI's 
position  of  voting  for  the  workers  parties  of  a  popular  front 
is  derived  from  the  conception  of  a  strategic  united  front. 
The  Spartacist  tendency,  in  contrast,  refuses  to  give 
electoral  support  to  any  of  the  parties  of  a  popular  front;  we 
call  instead  for  conditional  opposition  to  the  workers 
parties  of  a  popular  front,  demanding  that  they  break  with 
their  bourgeois  allies  as  a  condition  for  electoral  support. 
The  logic  of  our  position  is  quite  clear:  the  fundamental 
principle  of  Marxist  politics  is  political  independence  of  the 
proletariat  from  the  class  enemy;  if  a  workers  party,  even  a 
rotten  reformist  party  such  as  the  British  Labour  Party, 
campaigns  on  its  own  for  office,  we  can  call  on  the  workers 
to  vote  for  this  party  as  an  elementary  attempt  to  draw  the 
class  line.  But  if  the  workers  party  is  part  of  a  popular  front, 
then  to  call  on  the  workers  to  vote  for  that  party  is  to  call  on 
them  to  put  a  bourgeois  political  formation  in  office! 

The  LCE  also  called  for  votes  to  the  workers  parties  of 
the  popular  front  in  the  second  round  of  the  1973  French 
parliamentary  elections.  You  argued  that  abstentionism  is 
a  passive  policy.  If  it  is  a  question  of  abstention  on 
principle,  this  is  correct.  The  Spartacist  tendency,  however, 
has  no  such  policy,  and  called  for  a  vote  to  the  candidates  of 
the  OCI  and  LO  [Lutte  Ouvriere]  which,  because  they 
refused  to  vote  for  the  Left  Radicals,  presented  at  least  in  a 
distorted  and  very  partial  manner  a  class  opposition  to  the 
popular  front.  We  also  called  on  the  CP  and  SP  to  break 
from  the  Left  Radicals,  making  any  electoral  support  to 
their  candidates  conditional  on  such  a  break  with  the 
bourgeois  party. 

We  would  be  interested  to  know  what  your  policy  was  in 
the  1974  French  elections  when  Mitterrand  was  the  single 
candidate  of  the  popular  front.  In  such  a  case  you  could 
make  no  pretense  of  refusing  to  vote  for  part  of  the  front; 
your  concrete  advice  to  the  workers  would  be  identical  to 
that  of  the  Union  of  the  Left's  leaders.  Also  we  would  be 
interested  to  know  your  position  on  the  April  25 
Portuguese  elections.  The  Portuguese  Partido  Revolucio- 


WOMEN  AND  REVOLUTION 

published  by  the  Women's  Commission  of  the 
Spartacist  League 

$2/4  issues 

Make  checks  payable/mail  to: 
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V  y 


nario  dos  Trabalhadores  (PRT),  which  appears  to  follow 
LCE  views  generally,  refused  to  give  support  to  any  of  the 
parties  which  signed  the  pact  with  the  Armed  Forces 
Movement.  We  disagree  with  the  PRT's  policy  of  electoral 
support  to  the  [Portuguese]  LCI  [Liga  Comunista 
Internacional]  (support  which  was  by  no  means  critical,  at 
least  publicly),  since  in  our  view  the  LCI's  line  toward  the 
MFA  amounted  to  "critical  support"  of  its  "progressive 
wing"  rather  than  intransigent  class  opposition.  But  the 
PRT's  refusal  to  vote  for  the  CP  because  it  was  formally 
committed  to  class  collaboration  in  the  form  of  participa- 
tion in  the  bonapartist  bourgeois  MFA-dominated  regime 
is  correct.  Do  you  disagree  with  that  position? 

Workers  Commissions  and  the  "Revolutionary 
General  Strike" 

Your  statements  concerning  the  workers  commissions 
also  appear  to  us  to  reflect  the  erroneous  concept  of  a 
"united  front  strategy."  You  write  that:  "It  is  in  the 
Workers  Commissions  that  we  Trotskyists  think  the 
fundamental  organic  base  of  the  united  front  of  the  militant 
proletariat  is  to  be  found"  ("The  Crisis  of  the  LCR  and  the 
En  Marcha  Split").  In  the  "strategic  resolution"  of  the 
second  congress  of  the  LCE  you  add:  "The  force  of  the 
generalized  action  of  the  masses,  and  the  centralization  of 
the  will  to  struggle  of  extremely  broad  sectors,  increasingly 
require  the  workers  commissions  to  break  with  the 
obstacles  which  oppose  the  development  of  their  vocation 
as  democratic  forms  of  united front  of  the  broad  vanguard 
of  the  proletariat.''" 

What  do  you  mean  by  the  phrases  "fundamental  organic 
base  of  the  united  front"  and  "vocation  as  democratic 
forms  of  united  front  of  the  broad  vanguard"?  If  you  wish 
to  say  that  the  workers  commissions  have  grouped  together 
many  of  the  most  combative  worker  militants,  that  it  is 
necessary  to  struggle  within  them  to  defeat  the  Stalinists 
and  other  reformists  who  currently  lead  them  on  the  path 
of  class  collaboration,  that  it  would  be  stupid  and 
dangerous  sectarianism  to  treat  the  CC.OO.  [workers 
commissions]  as  competitors,  tacitly  identifying  the  base 
with  the  leadership— then  we  can  agree.  But  you  apparent- 
ly wish  to  go  further. 

To  talk  of  the  "vocation"  of  a  particular  institution  in  the 
class  struggle  is  metaphysical.  What  is  the  "vocation"  of  the 
trade  unions,  to  defend  the  interests  of  the  workers  against 
the  bosses  (which  is  impossible  in  this  epoch  except  under 
revolutionary  leadership)  or  to  serve  the  interests  of  the 
bosses  (as  is  almost  universally  the  case)?  You  can  say  that 
the  present  class-collaborationist  policies  of  the  unions  are 
a  deformation  of  their  basic  purpose.  But  then  Lenin  was 
wrong  to  insist  that  an  independent  vanguard  party  was 
necessary  in  order  to  bring  the  working  class  to  socialist 
consciousness,  and  that  trade-union  consciousness  is 
bourgeois  consciousness. 

And  what  of  the  Russian  Soviets  from  February  until 
September  1917— was  their  "vocation"  that  of  serving  as 
the  organizational  structure  for  the  creation  of  a  workers 
state?  Then  surely  Lenin  must  have  been  wrong  in 
withdrawing  the  slogan  of  "all  power  to  the  Soviets"  during 
the  ferocious  counterrevolutionary  repression  unleashed 
by  Kerensky  following  the  July  days.  Shouldn't  the 
Bolsheviks  instead  have  limited  themselves  to  struggling 


SPRING  1977 


13 


for  a  majority  in  the  Soviets,  unconditionally  submitting 
themselves  to  the  discipline  of  the  soviet  majority?  They  did 
not  do  so,  and  they  were  right. 

The  function  of  a  particular  institution  in  the  class 
struggle  is  decided  by  the  constellation  of  political  class 
forces  which  determines  its  policy.  The  German  workers 
councils  of  1918  were  dominated  by  the  majority  social 
democrats  and  ratified  the  establishment  of  a  bourgeois 
parliamentary  republic,  for  example.  One  can  speak  of  the 
actual  role  played  by  this  or  that  institution,  and  one  can 
also  speak  of  the  capacity  of  a  particular  framework  to 
fulfill  other  functions. 

In  our  view,  the  actual  role  played  by  the  Spanish 
workers  commissions  has  been  that  of  illegal  trade  unions. 
True,  on  occasion  they  have  led  mass  mobilizations 
extending  far  beyond  the  limits  of  a  particular  occupation- 
al category.  But  so  has  the  Bolivian  miners  federation, 
which  for  many  years  maintained  armed  workers  militias. 
Moreover,  you  too  make  a  distinction  between  the  workers 
commissions  and  the  "committees  elected  and  subject  to 
recall  in  assemblies."  This  is  not  mere  formalism,  since  at 
present  (as  we  understand  it)  most  workers  commissions 
are  not  elected,  are  dominated  by  reformist  misleaders  and 
many  have  even  expelled  militants  who  wished  to  pursue  a 
combative  class-struggle  policy. 

What  is  the  capacity  of  the  workers  commission?  Andres 
Nin  was  wrong  to  believe  that  the  anarchist-led  CNT  trade- 
union  federation  could  take  the  place  of  Soviets;  he  ignored 
the  fact  that  even  these  combative  unions  were  dominated 
by  a  bureaucracy  and  were  structured  in  a  manner  such  as 
to  delay  or  repress  the  expression  of  the  direct  will  of  the 
masses.  The  workers  commissions,  in  contrast,  are  much 
more  fluid,  incompletely  coordinated  and  lacking  the 
heavy  weight  of  a  massive  bureaucracy  such  as  develops  in 
the  unions  under  conditions  of  bourgeois  legality.  Thus  the 
workers  commissions  may  be  transformed  into  democratic 
workers  councils  in  the  heat  of  a  mass  upsurge,  in  a  similar 
manner  shop  stewards  councils  could  have  been  trans- 
formed into  factory  committees  in  the  course  of  the  1926 
general  strike  in  Great  Britain. 

In  the  United  States  we  have  fought  syndicalist 
tendencies  which  see  the  unions  as  enemies  of  the  workers 
because  of  the  treacherous  policy  of  the  misleaders.  in 
Britain  during  the  1 973  miners  strike  we  called  for  a  general 
strike  organized  by  the  shop  stewards  councils,  and 
criticized  the  utopianism  of  the  International  Marxist 
Group  which  sought  to  create  "councils  of  action"  out  of 
thin  air.  A  party  cannot  lightly  break  the  discipline  in 
action  of  the  unions  every  time  it  disagrees  with  the  policy 
adopted:  until  the  outbreak  of  massive  working-class 
upsurges  it  will  necessarily  focus  its  efforts  on  winning 
leadership  of  these  institutions.  But  we  do  not  submit 
ourselves  unconditionally  to  the  discipline  of  any  institu- 
tion beyond  the  party  on  the  grounds  that  its  "vocation"  is 
to  serve  as  the  organic  base  of  the  united  front.  We  must  be 
prepared  under  certain  circumstances  to  break  the  united 
front  in  order  to  take  the  struggle  forward  when  the 
reformists  begin  to  betray. 

The  "Revolutionary  General  Strike" 

The  Liga  Comunista  frequently  speaks  of  the 
|^     "Revolutionary  General  Strike  to  overthrow  the  Franco 

1^" 


dictatorship."  Evidently  this  is  intended  to  contrast  with 
the  CP's  call  for  a  "national  strike"  as  some  kind  of  act  of 
national  reconciliation;  in  a  similar  manner,  the  "class 
pact"  proposed  by  the  LCE  is  evidently  intended  to 
contrast  with  the  CP's  "pact  for  liberty."  We  are,  of  course, 
entirely  in  favor  of  the  most  effective  slogans  counterpos- 
ing  the  program  of  class  independence  to  the  reformists' 
policy  of  class  collaboration.  But  one  must  be  careful  in 
such  matters  not  to  oversimplify. 

On  the  one  hand,  the  slogan  of  a  revolutionary  general 
strike  appears  to  be  unduly  specific  as  to  the  form  of  a 
revolutionary  upheaval  against  the  Franco  regime.  The 
1934  uprising  in  Asturias  immediately  took  on  the  form  of 
an  insurrection,  for  instance.  In  this  respect,  the  slogan  has 
sort  of  the  character  of  a  "social  myth"  a  la  Sorel.  A  similar 
example  was  the  syndicalist  slogan  during  World  War  I  of  a 
general  strike  against  war.  Of  course  a  general  strike  may 
well  be  the  means  by  which  the  bonapartist  dictatorship  is 
toppled. 

Much  more  fundamentally,  we  are  unclear  as  to  the  sense 
in  which  you  use  the  slogan  of  the  workers  government  and 
its  relation  to  the  general  strike.  On  the  one  hand,  your 
"strategic  resolution"  refers  to  "the  formula  of  a  govern- 
ment of  the  workers  based  on  the  organs  of  the  general 
strike."  This  we  consider  a  correct  slogan  in  the  event  of  a 
general  strike;  clearly,  the  task  of  the  revolutionaries  must 
be  not  only  to  form  a  central  strike  committee  but  also  to 
give  it  a  soviet  character,  transforming  it  into  an  organ  of 
dual  power  and  struggling  to  impose  the  rule  of  a 
government  based  on  the  democratic  expression  of  this 
unitary  representative  organ  of  the  independent  workers 
movement.  Such  a  formulation  is  sharply  contrasted  to  the 
recent  call  by  the  Portuguese  Liga  Comunista  Internacio- 
nal  (LCI)  for  "the  imposition  of  a  workers  government 
within  the  framework  of  a  capitalist  state." 

On  the  other  hand,  you  write  of  the  LCR  that  "It 
becomes  ever  more  difficult  to  see,  in  their  writings,  if  they 
really  make  a  distinction  between  the  overthrow  of  the 
dictatorship  and  the  overthrow  of  capitalism.  The  rejection 
of  the  slogan  of  a  real  constituent  assembly,  as  well  as  the 
ideological  use  of  workers  control,  educate  the  militants  in 
the  illusion  that  the  extension  of  democratic  committees, 
and  even  more  the  rise  of  Soviets,  signify  that  the 
revolutionary  positions  have  already  defeated  the  influence 
of  the  reformist  alternatives.  The  transitional  slogan  of  the 
workers  government  is  ever  more  confused,  then,  with  the 
dictatorship  of  the  proletariat"  ("The  Crisis  in  the 
LCR..."). 

We  do  not  have  extensive  documentation  of  the  writings 
of  the  LCR  which  you  refer  to.  In  any  case,  we  would 
oppose  dropping  the  slogan  of  a  constituent  assembly  in 
the  Spanish  context  (and  we  repeatedly  called  for  a 
democratically  elected  constituent  assembly  in  Portugal  in 
the  year  following  the  overthrow  of  Caetano).  But  we  do 
not  conceive  of  the  call  for  a  constituent  assembly  as 
representing  some  kind  of  intermediate  stage  of  the 
revolution;  in  a  pre-revolutionary  situation,  we  could 
simultaneously  call  for  the  formation  of  a  soviet-type 
unitary  organization  representative  of  the  entirety  of  the 
continued  on  page  21 


14 


SPARTACIST 


The  two  adjacent  documents  were  submitted  in  July  1973 
to  the  pre-conference  discussion  of  the  Socialist  Workers 
Party  (SWP)  by  supporters  of  the  Revolutionary  Interna- 
tionalist Tendency  (RIT):  the  "Declaration  of  Revolution- 
ary Internationalist  Tendency"  (SV/P  Discussion  Bulletin 
Vol.  31,  No.  22,  July  1973  and  "The  Fight  in  the  United 
Secretariat:  Reformist  Appetite  Versus  Guerrillaist  Cen- 
trism"  (SWP  Discussion  Bulletin  Vol.  31,  No.  28,  July 
1973). 

The  RIT  had  coalesced  around  the  general  political  line 
of  two  earlier  pre-convention  documents  written  by  Gerald 
Clark  C'The  Only  Road  to  Revolution  is  Through  the 
Proletariat"  and  "A  Program  for  Building  a  Proletarian 
Party:  In  Opposition  to  the  Centrism  of  the  Party 
Majority"  printed,  respectively,  in  SWP  Discussion 
Bulletin  Vol.  31.  No.  I,  April  1973,  and  Vol.  31,  No.  14, 
June  1973).  Although  partial,  these  two  documents  to- 
gether presented  a  broad-ranging  criticism  of  both  wings  of 
the  factionatly  polarized  "United"  Secretariat  (USec). 

Moving  swiftly  to  bureaucratically  suppress  a  principled 
Trotskyisl  opposition,  the  reformist  SWP  leadership 
refused  the  RIT  permission  to  participate  in  the  interna- 
tional discussion  within  the  USec.  Although  abiding  by  this 
anti- Leninist  decision,  the  RIT  supporters  were  summarily 
expelled  from  the  SWP  within  a  few  weeks  after  the 
national  conference,  charged  with  "collaboration  with  the 
Spartacist  League"  (see  "SWP  Uses  Watergate  Methods 
Against  Trotskyists,"  Workers  Vanguard  No.  29,  28 
September  1973).  The  "proof"  of  this  so-called  "collabora- 
tion" was  the  testimony  of  four  SWP  members  who  spent 
days  slithering  in  the  grass  near  the  site  of  an  SL 
educational  summer  camp  and  who  claim  to  have  spied  two 
RIT  supporters. 

Following  his  expulsion  Clark  (together  with  a  member 
of  the  National  Committee  of  the  Communist  League  of 
Australia  who  had  been  expelled  in  September  1973  for 
solidarizing  with  the  RIT)  addressed  an  appeal  to  the 
Tenth  World  Congress  of  the  USec  protesting  the 
bureaucratic  expulsions  of  RIT  supporters  and  demanding 
the  circulation  of  RIT  documents  (subsequently  reprinted 
in  Spartacist  [edition  frangaise]  No.  6,  June  1974).  The 
appeal  was  denied  and  ignored  through  the  common  action 
of  the  SWP  and  the  leadership  of  the  International 
Majority  Tendency  (IMT). 

One  leader  of  the  pro-IMT  Internationalist  Tendency 
(IT)  of  the  S  WP,  apprehensive  that  theirs  would  be  the  next 
necks  on  the  chopping  block,  registered  an  internal,  pro- 
forma  protest  over  the  expulsion  of  Clark.  Yet  a  year  later 
the  IT  leaders  carried  out  a  no  less  bureaucratic  purge 
within  their  own  ranks,  expelling  two  members  of  the  IT 
Steering  Committee  who  opposed  the  cynical  wheeling  and 
dealing  between  the  IMT  and  the  SWP  over  "reintegra- 
tion" of  the  expelled  IT  members,  and  who  had  demanded 
an  immediate  break  with  the  reformist  SWP  (see  "IT 
Expels  Left  Oppositionists  for  Demanding  'Break  with  the 
SWP'."  Workers  Vanguard  No.  59.  3  January  I97r)- 

Following  their  expulsion  the  supporters  of  the  RIT 
joined  the  SL. 


The  Fight  in  the 

United 

Secretariat 

Reformist 
Appetite  vs. 
Guerrillaist 
Centrism 

In  the  struggle  within  the  United  Secretariat,  the 
minority,  centered  on  the  (fraternally  related)  SWP, 
represents  a  reformist  tendency,  approximating  the  pre- 
World  War  1  Social  Democracy,  while  the  majority, 
centered  on  the  French  Ligue  Communiste,  is  a  centrist 
current  presently  defending  insurrectionary  nationalist 
Stalinism  of  the  left  Maoist-Guevarist  variety.  Both 
tendencies  are  profoundly  opportunist,  but  with  differing 
views  as  to  the  possibilities  of  realizing  their  opportunist 
appetites.  In  large  part,  these  differences  reflect  the 
different  political  conditions  in  the  U.S.  and  Western 
Europe.  Overawed  by  the  apparent  stability  of  American 
society  and  the  authority  of  its  ruling  class,  the  SWP 
leadership  cannot  conceive  of  attaining  power  except 
through  collaboration  with  a  section  of  the  bourgeoisie. 
Thus,  the  dominant  activity  of  the  SWP  in  the  past  several 
years  has  been  the  creation  of  a  non-declora]  popular  front 
in  opposition  to  the  Vietnam  war  (with  no  possibility  of 
generating  an  electoral  extension  at  present  because  the 
SWP  has  little  to  offer  the  powerful  capitalist  parties). 
NPAC  [National  Peace  Action  Coalition]  and  its  prede- 
cessors were  deliberately  designed  with  a  programmatic 
invitation  to  elements  of  the  ruling  class,  and  a  few 
prominent  Democratic  Party  politicians  duly  accepted  the 
offer.  The  main  reason  the  SWP  has  reversed  its  past 
enthusiastic  (although  platonic)  advocacy  of  guerrilla  war 
is  that  association  with  real  guerrilla-terrorists  threatens  to 
destroy  the  SWP's  respectability  in  the  face  of  bourgeois 
public  opinion.  Would  Senator  Hartke  or  Congresswoman 
Abzug  have  joined  a  "coalition"  with  a  party  associated 
with  people  kidnapping  U.S.  business  executives?  This  is 
the  spectre  that  haunts  the  SWP  leadership:  the  armed 
crazies  in  the  United  Secretariat  will  drive  away  our 
bourgeois  liberal  collaborators! 


SPRING  1977 


15 


Existing  in  less  stable  societies,  the  international 
majority  sections  are  more  optimistic  about  the  armed 
seizure  of  state  power  than  is  the  SWP  leadership,  and  are 
contemptuous  of  its  legalistic  respectability.  However,  the 
international  majority  is  no  less  opportunist  than  the  SWP 
leadership. 

Thus  Comrade  Germain  endorsed  the  fundamental  line 
of  the  SWF's  class  collaborationist  antiwar  work:  "The 
role  played  by  the  American  Trotskyists  in  stimulating  and 
helping  to  organise  a  mass  antiwar  movement  in  the  USA 
expresses  a  similar  transformation.  This  mass  antiwar 
movement. . .  became  a  political  factor  of  great  importance 
in  the  world  relationship  of  forces  helping  the  struggle  of 
the  Vietnamese  revolution  against  the  counter- 
revolutionary war  of  imperialism."  (Ernest  Germain,  "In 
Defence  of  Leninism:  In  Defence  of  the  Fourth  Interna- 
tional," International  Internal  Discussion  Bulletin,  Vol- 
ume X,  Number  4,  April  1973,  page  41.) 

By  way  of  criticism.  Comrade  Germain  merely  observes 
that  the  SWP  could  also  have  devoted  "more  specific 
propaganda  directed  to  a  more  limited  vanguard,  explain- 
ing the  need  to  support  the  Vietnamese  revolution  till  its 
final  victory."  {Ibid.,  page  46.)  Ah,  but  Vance  Hartke 
wouldn't  have  liked  that!  It  was  not  an  accident  that  the 
SWP  consistently  avoided  raising  even  a  figleaf  of  class 
politics  in  the  antiwar  movement.  But  the  international 


majority,  of  course,  was  hardly  in  a  position  to  criticize  the 
SWP's  class  collaboration  over  the  Vietnam  war  since  the 
Ligue  Communiste  supported  that  classic  and  easily 
recognizable  popular  front,  the  Union  of  the  Left,  in  the 
last  French  election.  Expectedly  the  SWP  leadership 
returned  the  favor  by  uncritically  publicizing  the  Ligue's 
class  collaboration  on  that  occasion. 

For  even  in  order  to  establish  erstwhile  orthodox 
credentials,  the  SWP— at  least  while  the  elections  were 
under  way  and  illusions  were  high— did  not  attack  the 
French  section  for  capitulation  to  the  Union  de  la  Gauche 
popular  front.  The  SWP  has  made  popular  frontism  the 
very  center  of  its  so-called  "mass"  work  through  its  major 
activity,  the  antiwar  movement.  The  SWP's  substantial 
numerical  growth  since  the  early  1960s  has  been  achieved 
precisely  through  the  party's  immersion  in  the  classless 
antiwar  movement,  where  along  with  the  reformist 
Communist  Party,  the  SWP  bears  major  responsibility  for 
keeping  the  struggle  within  the  bounds  of  the  liberal 
capitalist  framework  through  the  "single  issue"  strategy. 
The  whole  purpose  of  this  policy  was  the  deliberate  refusal 
to  raise  the  class  question  of  the  Vietnamese  revolution, 
and  the  denial  of  the  interrelationship  between  struggling 
to  sharpen  the  domestic  class  struggle  and  defending  the 
Vietnamese  revolution.  Instead,  the  party  prided  itself  on 
continued  on  page  17 


Declaration  of  the  Revolutionary 
Internationalist  Tendency 


The  present  crisis  of  capitalism  has  entered  into  a  new 
period.  The  turning  point  in  this  crisis  was  the  August  15, 
1971,  policy  of  the  United  States  government  imposing 
wage  controls  upon  the  working  class,  and  seeking  as  well 
to  better  its  own  position  at  the  expense  of  the  other 
imperialist  bourgeoisies.  These  measures  initiated  a 
general,  international  crisis  of  bourgeois  relations.  The 
result  has  been  a  growing  instability  of  bourgeois  regimes, 
(exacerbated  by  the  continuing  war  in  Southeast  Asia  and 
the  rising  competition  in  trade  and  a  faltering  monetary 
system. 

The  post-war  stability  of  the  capitalist  system  based 
upon  American  hegemony  was  first  shattered  in  1968  with 
the  Vietnamese  Tet  offensive,  which  brought  the  Johnson 
administration  to  its  knees,  and  this  was  accompanied  by  a 
wide-ranging  new  rise  in  the  class  struggle:  the  French 
general  strike,  the  Czech  events,  followed  by  major 
upheavals  in  northern  Italy,  Poland,  Ireland,  Chile,  and 
Argentina.  In  every  part  of  the  world— advanced  capitalist 
countries,  the  deformed  workers  states,  colonial  and 
semicolonial  nations — the  class  struggle  has  emerged  with 
a  vigor  unseen  since  the  1930s. 

The  revolutionary  socialist  movement,  small  and 
isolated  from  the  working  class,  must  realize  and  take 
advantage  of  this  new  period  to  begin  the  long,  uphill 
struggle  to  root  our  forces  in  the  working  class  and  prepare 
our  cadre  for  the  battles  which  are  sure  to  come.  But  not  to 


simply  proclaim  to  the  world  our  proletarian  character  and 
love  for  the  workers.  No!  Our  strategy  of  penetrating  the 
workers'  organizations  is  based  on  our  analysis  of  the  deep- 
going  crisis  of  leadership  of  the  proletariat  and  the 
necessity  to  defeat  the  present  misleaders  who  have  tied  the 
working  class  to  the  saddle  of  the  bourgeoisie. 

But  so  far  the  proletariat  has  refused  to  be  whipped  into 
line.  Caught  between  the  bourgeois  parties  and  the 
traditional  reformist  and  Stalinist  misleaders,  the  working 
class  struggles  militantly  against  the  attacks  by  capital  but 
is  unable  to  advance  beyond  the  limits  of  bourgeois 
relations.  Only  under  the  leadership  of  the  revolutionary 
vanguard  will  it  be  possible  to  advance  the  struggle  for 
socialism  and  defeat  capitalism  once  and  for  all. 

But  the  vanguard  must  be  armed  with  a  program  which  is 
in  the  interests  of  the  proletariat  and  capable  of  organizing 
it  for  the  successful  conquest  of  power.  The  present 
leaderships  of  the  United  Secretariat  and  the  Socialist 
Workers  Party  offer  no  such  program.  Both  tendencies 
within  the  world  movement  offer  us  two  forms  of  the  same 
substance:  political  liquidationism.  In  the  case  of  the  SWP, 
liquidation  into  petty-bourgeois  milieus  and  the  subordi- 
nation of  the  vanguard  role  of  the  revolutionary  party  to 
the  reformist  leaderships  of  the  petty-bourgeois  move- 
ments, and  in  the  labor  movement  its  support  to 
government-tied  reformers — like  the  UlVIW's  Miller  and 
continued  on  next  page 


16 


SPARTACIST 


RIT  Declaration... 

the  NMU's  Morrissey.  In  the  case  of  the  I MT  [Internation- 
al Majority  Tendency  of  the  United  Secretariat],  liquida- 
tion into  guerrillaism  and  the  "new  mass  vanguard"  of 
Europe,  which  also  represents  a  subordination  of  the  role 
of  the  vanguard  party.  Therefore,  both  tendencies  are 
unsupportable. 

On  the  international  level  the  positions  put  forward  in 
Comrade  Clark's  document  "The  Only  Road  to  Revolu- 
tion is  the  Proletariat,"  represents  for  us  a  generally  correct 
program  and  strategy  for  building  revolutionary  parties 
throughout  the  world  in  the  next  period.  A  strategy  which 
places  the  proletariat  in  the  center  of  our  work  and  the 
organization  of  a  mass,  democratic-centralist  Internation- 
al, rooted  in  the  working  class  and  capable  of  leading 
workers  in  the  struggle  for  power,  as  a  major  objective  of 
the  Trotskyist  movement. 

Within  the  United  States,  we  are  in  general  agreement 
with  the  line  of  the  document  "A  Program  for  Building  a 
Proletarian  Party:  In  Opposition  to  the  Centrism  of  the 
Party  Majority,"  also  authored  by  Comrade  Clark.  This 
document  counterposes  a  revolutionary  Marxist  program 
and  perspective  to  the  reformist  democratic  program  of  the 
party  majority.  In  opposition  to  the  "sectoral"  thesis  of  the 
party  leadership,  which  adapts  to  the  democratic  demands 
of  Blacks,  Chicanos,  women,  gays,  students,  and  labor 
bureaucrats,  the  document  calls  for  immediate  major 
implantation  into  the  unions  to  carry  out  work  based  on 
the  Transitional  Program  and  the  principle  of  class  unity 
against  capitalist  exploitation.  In  calling  for  the  formation 
of  trade-union  caucuses  based  on  the  Transitional 
Program,  the  document  correctly  poses  the  question  within 
the  workers'  movement  of  who  should  lead  the  class: 
revolutionary  socialists  or  the  present  labor  lieutenants  of 
capital.  These  tasks  flow  directly  from  the  evaluation  we 
had  made  of  the  present  period. 

The  political  bankruptcy  of  the  SWP  majority's  program 
and  perspectives  has  been  clearly  revealed  in  its  stubborn 
clinging  to  a  student  orientation  in  the  face  of  qualitative 
changes  in  the  world  situation.  What  is  worse,  the  majority 
has  dug  deeper  into  this  milieu  the  more  openly  the  crisis  of 
bourgeois  society  develops.  Unable  to  face  this  reality 
squarely,  i.e.,  act  in  a  revolutionary  manner,  the  majority 
resorts  to  a  frenzied  attempt  to  appear  "orthodox"  before 
the  final  curtain  is  raised  and  reveals  its  two-stage  theory  of 
revolution  for  all  sectors  of  the  world  movement! 

Yet  with  the  present  method  and  practice  of  the  SWP 
majority,  should  it  decide  tomorrow  to  turn  massively  to  a 
"labor  orientation,"  as  it  may  well  be  compelled  to  do,  such 
an  orientation  could  only  be  a  reflection  of  its  continuing 
practice  in  other  arenas.  The  task  of  Leninists  among  all 
strata  of  the  oppressed  is  to  fuse  together  their  struggles 
into  the  general  class  struggle,  to  transcend  all  narrow, 
partial,  and  therefore  counterposed,  aspects.  Only  the 
program  and  practice  of  revolutionary  Marxism  has  the 
capacity  to  achieve  this.  Hence  the  centrality  of  a 
revolutionary  proletarian  perspective  in  no  way  excludes 
work  in  other  sections  of  the  opppressed  but  rather  directs 
the  thrust  of  such  work. 

Two  years  ago,  a  struggle  was  launched  to  orient  the 
party  toward  the  proletariat.  It  failed.  It  failed  because  the 


comrades  of  the  Proletarian  Orientation  Tendency  refused 
to  address  themselves  to  the  question  of  program,  and 
underestimated  the  degree  to  which  the  party  has  retreated 
from  genuine  Trotskyism.  But  because  these  questions 
couldn't  be  avoided,  a  split  took  place  in  the  POT  within  a 
year  after  the  convention.  Those  who  took  up  the  question 
of  program  in  a  serious  manner  eventually  grouped  into  the 
Leninist  Faction. 

But  those  who  retreated  from  this  question  of  program 
are  now,  in  their  majority,  grouped  into  the  International- 
ist Tendency  and  the  West-Coast  Tendency.  Both  have 
declared  that  they  are  in  principled  agreement  with  the 
International  Majority  Tendency.  What  differences  they 
do  have  with  the  IMT  are  subordinated  in  the  interests  of 
organizational  maneuvers.  Inside  both  the  tendencies 
which  support  the  IMT  there  are  wide  and  divergent 
political  views  that  centrifugal  force  will  probably  pull 
apart  in  the  future  again.  Despite  the  many  correct 
criticisms  these  tendencies  make  of  the  party's  program,  we 
cannot  support  them  because  of  our  principled  disagree- 
ment with  the  program  of  the  IMT. 

The  International  Majority  Tendency  in  standing  for  the 
petty-bourgeois  guerrilla  road  in  the  colonial  world — 
which  even  if  successful  could  at  best  lead  to  a  deformed 
workers  state,  and  at  the  expense  of  a  working-class 
centered  revolution— has  reaped  with  the  PRT-ERP  [the 
Argentine  Partido  Revolucionario  de  los  Trabajadores — 
Ejercito  Revolucionario  del  Pueblo]  the  inevitable  conse- 
quences: that  for  such  guerrillas,  a  Mao  or  a  Castro,  not  a 
Trotsky,  is  their  legitimate  ideological  hero  and  inspirer.  In 
Europe,  the  IMT's  latest  fad  is  the  phrase  "new  mass 
vanguard"  and  the  revolution  guaranteed  within  five  years. 
These  quick  remedies  are  not  one  bit  superior  to  the 
concept  of  "red  universities"  as  bastions  of  revolution,  or 
"from  the  periphery  to  the  center,"  since  for  many  years 
they  lamentably  failed  to  turn  Stalinist  and  reformist 
bureaucrats  into  involuntary  revolutionaries  through  the 
tactic  of  "deep  entryism."  And  for  the  United  States,  the 
IMT  has  been  content  to  endorse  the  whole  past  work  of 
the  SWP,  suggesting  only  that  it  might  have  been  given  a 
somewhat  more  radical  cover. 

The  issue  of  democratic  centralism  in  the  United 
Secretariat  is  a  travesty  of  Trotskyism.  Democratic 
centralism—internal  democracy  and  iron  front  of  disci- 
pline in  external  work — is  a  vital  requirement  for 
proletarian  revolutionaries;,  no  less  on  the  international 
than  on  the  national  plane.  In  the  disparity  of  elements  in 
the  United  Secretariat  whose  marriage  of  convenience  is 
profoundly  shaken,  the  pretense  of  discipline  can  only 
alternate  between  centrist  mockery  and  bureaucratic 
abuse. 

We  know  that  many  left-wing  members  of  the  party  have 
been  drawn  to  the  IMT  because  of  some  of  its  correct 
specific  criticisms  of  positions  of  the  SWP.  We  hope  to 
show  these  elements  that  the  concept  of  "the  enemy  of  our 
enemy  is  our  friend"  is  not  always  true;  in  fact  in  this  case,  is 
a  destructive  illusion. 

On  the  basis  of  the  position  of  this  statement,  we  take  our 
stance  at  this  crucial  moment  in  the  history  of  our 
movement,  and  call  upon  all  serious  revolutionaries  in  the 


SPRING  1977 


17 


Fight  in  the  USec... 

(continued  from  page  15) 

being  the  "best  builders"  of  impotent  parades  and  rallies 
prominently  featuring  bourgeois  politicians. 

In  an  attempt  to  obscure  the  fundamentally  popular 
frontist  character  of  its  antiwar  work,  the  SWP  has 
published  in  its  Education  for  Socialists  series  two  chapters 
from  "The  People's  Front:  The  New  Betrayal,"  written  by 
James  Burnham  and  published  by  the  SWP  in  1937  as  its 
principal  public  declaration  against  the  people's  front.  But 
the  SWP  has  not  republished  the  last  chapter  of  Burnham's 
pamphlet,  which  describes  how  the  Stalinists  applied  the 
people's  front  to  the  U.S.,  where  they  were  not  strong 
enough  to  bargain  away  proletarian  revolution  for 
governmental  posts. 

Burnham  wrote:  "Most  significant  of  all  is  the  applica- 
tion of  the  People's  Front  policy  to  'anti-war  work.' 
Through  a  multitude  of  pacifist  organizations,  and 
especially  through  the  directly  controlled  American 
League  Against  War  and  Fascism,  the  Stalinists  aim  at  the 
creation  of  a  'broad,  classless  People's  Front  of  all  those 
opposed  to  war.'  The  class-collaborationist  character  of  the 
People's  Front  policy  is  strikingly  revealed  through  the 
Stalinist  attitude  in  these  organizations.  They  rule  out  in 
advance  the  Marxist  analysis  of  war  as  necessarily  resulting 
from  the  inner  conflicts  of  capitalism  and  therefore 
genuinely  opposed  only  by  revolutionary  class  struggle 
against  the  capitalist  order  and  in  contrast  maintain  that  all 
persons,  from  whatever  social  class  or  group,  whether  or 
not  opposed  to  capitalism,  can  'unite'  to  stop  war." 

This  Trotskyist  condemnation  of  the  popular  front 
policy  of  the  U.S.  Stalinists  reads  as  if  it  had  been  written 
specifically  to  describe  the  precise  practice  of  the  SWP  in 
the  antiwar  movement — the  practice  which  Comrade 
Germain  finds  principled! 

Similarly  over  the  question  of  the  SWP's  blatant 
accommodation  to  petty-bourgeois  nationalism.  Comrade 
Germain  seeks  to  establish  orthodox  Leninist  credentials 
for  the  international  majority  by  denouncing  the  Canadian 
section  and  counterposing  to  the  LSA/LSO  [League  for 
Socialist  Action/  Ligue  Socialiste  Ouvriere]  extensive 
quotations  from  Lenin  on  the  difference  between  the  right 
of  nations  to  self-determination  on  the  one  hand  and 

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nationalism— a  pernicious  anti-working-class  ideology 
covering  overt  collaboration  with  the  class  enemy — on  the 
other. 

But  when  push  comes  to  shove.  Comrade  Germain  has 
nothing  but  fulsome  praise  for  the  SWP's  abandonment  of 
Leninism  over  Black  and  Chicano  nationalism:  "The 
analysis  and  projections  made  by  Comrade  George 
Breitman  in  that  respect  were  among  the  most  important 
creative  contributions  to  Marxist  thought  realized  by  the 
world  Trotskyist  movement  since  the  murder  of  Leon 
Trotsky.  The  conclusion  was  obvious:  Black  (and  Chicano) 
nationalism  in  the  United  States  are  objectively  progressive 
forces  which  revolutionary  Marxists  had  to  support, 
stimulate  and  help  organise  independently  from  the  two  big 
American  bourgeois  parties  and  from  the  still  non-existent 
labour  party."  ("In  Defence  of  Leninism...,"  page  43.) 

Not  "Armed  Struggle,"  But  Proletarian 
Revolution 

The  central  revision  of  revolutionary  Marxism  by  the 
international  majority  is  the  separation  of  the  class 
organization  of  an  insurrection  from  the  society  emerging 
from  it.  A  revolutionary  workers  state,  in  which  the 
working  class  democratically  governs  on  the  basis  of 
collectivized  property,  can  only  be  established  if  the  armed 
forces  of  the  labor  movement  itself  play  the  dominant  role 
in  overthrowing  the  capitalist  state.  The  insurgent 
peasantry  and  urban  petty  bourgeoisie  are  necessary  allies 
of  the  proletariat  in  socialist  revolutions  in  backward 
countries.  However,  as  Trotsky  insisted  again  and  again  in 
his  fight  against  Stalinism,  the  decisive  question  is  whether 
the  proletariat  leads  the  petty  bourgeoisie  or  vice  versa.  The 
leadership  of  the  proletariat  in  a  social  revolution  does  not 
have  a  general  or  nebulous  political  or  ideological  form. 
Any  bourgeois  nationalist,  petty-bourgeois  radical  or 
Stalinist  can  and  often  does  claim  to  be  fighting  for  workers 
power.  "Proletarian  leadership"  is  meaningless  rhetoric 
unless  extended  to  military  dominance  during  an  insurrec- 
tion. The  leading  role  of  the  proletariat  in  a  social 
revolution  also  means  the  military  dominance  of  proletari- 
an armed  forces  (workers  militias  and  proletarian  sections 
of  the  old  armed  forces)  during  the  insurrection.  This  is  a 
fundamental  principle  of  revolutionary  Marxism.  Who- 
ever denies  it  is  not  a  Trotskyist! 

Where  capitalism  has  been  overthrown  primarily  by 
petty-bourgeois  armed  forces  (Yugoslavia,  China, 
Vietnam,  Cuba),  what  has  emerged  are  deformed  workers 
states— hmeaucrauc  ruling  castes  based  on  collectivized 
(i.e.,  working-class)  property  forms.  That  the  guerrilla  road 
to  power  necessarily  leads  to  a  Stalinist  regime  is  shown  by 
the  Cuban  revolution,  where  the  insurrectionary  leadership 
did  not  begin  as  conscious  Stalinists.  Rather,  the  26th  of 
July  Movement  was  a  heterogeneous  radical  nationalist 
group  originating  out  of  the  militant  adventurist  wing  of 
the  party  of  the  Cuban  liberal  bourgeoisie  (the  Ortodoxo 
Party).  However,  in  order  to  overthrow  capitalism  and 
maintain  bonapartist  rule  of  the  consolidating  bureaucrat- 
ic caste  over  the  Cuban  working  class,  Castro's  movement 
had  to  become  a  Stalinist  party,  merging  with  the  wretched 
Cuban  CP. 

In  a  generally  politically  correct  document.  Comrade 
continued  on  next  page 


18 


SPARTACIST 


Fight  in  the  USec... 

Gerald  Clark  states,  "By  incorrectly  generalizing  the 
unusual  experiences  of  the  Cuban  revolution  and  applying 
them  on  a  continental  scale  in  Latin  America,  the  majority 
has  revealed  its  petty-bourgeois  adaptation  to  non- 
revolutionary  currents  in  the  workers  movement."  (Gerald 
Clark,  "The  Only  Road  to  Revolution  Is  Through  the 
Proletariat,"  SIVP  Discussion  Bulletin,  Volume  31, 
Number  1,  April  1973,  page  8.) 

This  statement  indicates  that  Comrade  Clark  has  not  yet 
entirely  transcended  the  theoretical  framework  of  Pablo- 
ism.  Revolutionary  Marxists  oppose  the  abandonment  of 
"the  Leninist  norm  of  proletarian  revolutions"  in  favor  of 
"the  Cuban  road  to  power"  not  because  "the  Cuban  road" 
is  unlikely  to  succeed  elsewhere -  indeed,  the  Bolshevik 
revolution  has  not  yet  been  repeated  elsewhere — but 
because  it  necessarily  produces  a  nationalist,  anti-working- 
class  regime.  Soviet  Russia  in  1917-24  and  Cuba  (or 
China  or  Russia  today)  are  two  different  types  of  societal 
organizations  separated  hy  a  political  revolution.  Between 
Trotskyism  on  the  one  hand  and  Castro,  Mao,  Ho  Chi 
Minh  and  their  ilk  on  the  other  is  a  line  of  blood!  They 
know  this  and  so  should  we. 

The  Consistency  of  the  Argentine  PRT 

The  debate  has  centered  around  the  politics  and 
activities  of  the  international  majority-supported  group  in 
Argentina,  the  PRT  (Combatiente).  The  international 
majority  has  simultaneously  defended  the  PRT  against 
minority  accusations  of  adventurism  and  criticized  it  for 
Guevarist  deviations. 

Even  when  Comrade  Germain  seeks  to  demonstrate  the 
PRT's  close  ties  to  the  working  class,  he  demonstrates  just 
the  opposite    a  thoroughgoing  petty-bourgeois  elitism: 


"The  ERP  detachments  penetrated  into  some  30  factories 
where  special  conditions  of  repression  existed  and  where 
armed  factory  guards  of  the  bosses  and  the  army  terrorized 
the  workers.  They  disarmed  the  guards,  convened  all  the 
workers  into  general  assemblies  and  held  long  discussions 
with  them  on  the  present  stage  of  the  class  struggle  in 
Argentina."  ("In  Defence  of  Leninism...,"  page  17.) 

We  might  remind  Comrade  Germain  that  in  1949  Mao's 
Red  Army,  on  a  much  broader  scale,  disarmed  the  repres- 
sive bourgeois  army  and  convened  (that  is,  ordered)  the 
workers  to  assemble  to  hold  "long  discussions"  with  them. 
Revolutionary  Marxists  seek  to  replace  the  repressive 
bourgeois  state  apparatus  with  armed  forces  controlled  by 
the  workers  movement.  By  contrast,  the  PRT  seeks  to 
replace  the  bourgeois  state  apparatus  with  armed  petty- 
bourgeois  bands  which  are  not  controlled  by  the  organized 
working  class. 

The  PRT's  support  of  the  Soviet  invasion  of  Czechoslo- 
vakia and  its  belief  in  the  revolutionary  character  of  the 
Cuban,  North  Korean  and  Vietnamese  Stalinist  parties  is 
not  "inconsistency"  or  "theoretical  eclecticism"  as  Com- 
rade Germain  contends.  The  PRT  is  a  consistent 
insurrectionary  Stalinist  organization.  It  is  opposed  to 
workers  democracy  in  the  state  which  it  is  seeking  to 
establish  and  it  is  pursuing  insurrectionary  methods 
designed  to  ensure  military  control  over  the  working  class 
should  it  come  to  power.  It  is  the  PRT's  uneasy  apologists 
of  the  international  majority  who  are  inconsistent.  The 
international  majority  claims  to  believe  that  a  workers  state 
should  be  governed  through  soviet  democracy,  but 
advocates  insurrectionary  methods  which  deprive  the 
working  class  of  decisive  military  power.  The  kindest  thing 
one  can  say  of  the  international  majority  position  is  that  it 
is  Utopian.  Just  as  pre-Marxist  socialism  looked  to  the 
enlightened  members  of  the  bourgeoisie  and  petty 
bourgeoisie  to  liberate  the  working  class,  so  the  interna- 


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SPRING  1977 


19 


tionai  majority  believes  that  enlightened  and  heroic  petty- 
bourgeois  guerrilla  fighters  will  overthrow  the  capitalist 
state  and  magnanimously  grant  the  working  class  soviet 
power. 

The  PRT  seems  to  be  rapidly  moving  away  from  the 
United  Secretariat.  This  is  easily  understandable.  Not  only 
does  it  flow  inevitably  from  the  actual  urban  guerrilla 
struggle  the  PRT  undertakes,  but,  as  Comrade  Germain 
has  himself  noted,  the  initiating  PRT  cadres  who  had  been 
more'Trotskyist"  have  been  largely  exterminated.  (This  is 
the  usual  fate  of  terrorists  practicing  terrorism  and  is  a 
sufficient  comment  on  the  international  majority's  ap- 
proach to  the  difficult  and  lengthy  task  of  building 
leadership.)  Comrade  Germain  cannot  justly  disown  those 
who  engage  in  the  "strategy"  he  defends  when  they  go  on  to 
embrace  the  corresponding  left-Stalinist  ideology.  Because 
they  are  fundamentally  nationalist,  regimes  which  come  to 
power  via  the  guerrilla  road  repudiate  the  perspective  of 
socialist  revolutions  in  other  nations  when  these  are  an 
obstacle  to  making  diplomatic  deals  with  bourgeois  states. 
Appropriately,  Fidel  Castro  has  evolved  in  a  manner 
parallel  to  his  onetime  publicist.  Comrade  Hansen.  Castro 
too  once  advocated  guerrilla  war,  but  now  finds  it 
"ultraleft."  The  Havana  regime  has  repudiated  guerrilla 
war  in  order  to  form  an  alliance  with  Latin  American 
bourgeois  nationalism  (the  Peruvian  junta,  the  Chilean 
popular  front,  Peronism).  In  a  like  manner,  Mao  has 
endorsed  capitalist  counterrevolutionary  terrorism  in 
Bangladesh  and  Ceylon.  Some  Maoist-Fidelistas  are 
repelled  by  the  present  policies  of  the  Havana  and  Peking 
regimes.  These  dissident  left  Stalinists  can  only  be  won  to 
Trotskyism  by  proving  to  them  that  the  counterrevolution- 
ary foreign  policy  of  Havana  and  Peking  is  the  organic  and 
necessary  result  of  the  manner  in  which  these  regimes  came 
to  power:  without  the  dominant  role  in  the  revolution  being 
played  by  the  working  class  under  Trotskyist  leadership. 
But  all  wings  of  the  United  Secretariat  have  adapted  to  left 
Maoism-Guevarism  by  presenting  Trotskyism  as  a  form  of 
insurrectionary  left  Stalinism.  This  is  the  crime  of  the 
centrist  international  majority  in  its  policies  toward 
Argentina. 

Terrorists,  Guerrillas  and  Stalinist  Bureaucrats 

Much  confusion  exists  in  our  movement  about  what 
Stalinism  is.  It  is  far  more  than  an  ideology,  a  particular 
political-organizational  tradition,  and  certainly  not  simply 
a  phase  in  the  history  of  the  USSR.  Stalinism  is  a  social 
phenomenon — bureaucratic  rule  on  the  basis  of  working- 
class  property  forms.  In  addition  to  being  a  reformist 
working-class  current,  Stalinism  has  organic  roots  in  the 
urban  petty  bourgeoisie  of  the  backward  countries.  Petty- 
bourgeois  radical  nationalists  identify  with  and  take  as 
models  the  Maoists,  Viet  Cong  and  Fidelistas  as  people  like 
themselves  who  have  made  good.  In  one  of  its  aspects, 
Stalinism  is  a  form  of  petty-bourgeois  radical 
nationalism — the  politics  of  aspiring  bureaucrats. 

No  one  should  be  taken  in  by  the  international  majority's 
attempt  to  make  a  fundamental  distinction  between 
classical  terrorism  and  contemporary  guerrillaism  of  the 
ERP-Tupamaros  type.  Both  represent  the  same  basic 
political  class  content:  the  attempt  by  a  section  of  the  petty 


bourgeoisie  to  overthrow  the  bourgeoisie  and  succeed  it  as 
the  dominant  stratum  in  society.  Guerrillaism  is  nothing 
more  than  the  current  characteristic  method  of  struggle  by 
petty-bourgeois  radical  nationalists  who  in  particular 
circumstances  smoothly  transform  themselves  into  Stalin- 
ist bureaucrats. 

Decades  before  the  emergence  of  "Marxist-Leninist 
guerrillas,"  Trotsky  pointed  out  the  organic  connection 
between  left-wing  terrorism  and  Stalinist  bureaucratism: 

"Individual  terrorism  is  in  its  very  essence  bureaucratism 
turned  inside  out.  For  Marxists  this  law  was  not  discovered 
yesterday.  Bureaucratism  has  no  confidence  in  the  masses 
and  endeavors  to  substitute  itself  for  the  masses.  Terrorism 
works  in  the  same  manner;  it  seeks  to  make  the  masses 
happy  without  asking  their  participation.  The  Stalinist 
bureaucracy  has  created  a  vile  leader-cult,  attributing  to 
leaders  divine  qualities.  'Hero'  worship  is  also  the  religion 
of  terrorism,  only  with  a  minus  sign.  The  Nikolaevs 
imagine  that  all  that  is  necessary  is  to  remove  a  few  leaders 
by  means  of  a  revolver  in  order  for  history  to  take  another 
course.  Communist  terrorists,  as  an  ideological  grouping, 
are  of  the  same  flesh  and  blood  as  the  Stalinist  bureaucra- 
cy." (Leon  Trotsky,  "The  Stalinist  Bureaucracy  and  the 
Kirov  Assassination,"  Writings  of  Leon  Trotsky,  1934-35, 
Pathfinder  Press,  page  124.) 

The  SWP  Leadership:  For  and  Against  the 
Guerrilla  Road  to  Power 

For  many  years,  the  SWP  leadership  was  not  only  an 
ardent  advocate  of  guerrilla  war,  but  engaged  in  idiot 
enthusing  over  the  Castro  regime  and  Fidelista  movement. 
The  SWP's  self-styled  orthodox  turn  against  guerrillaism  is 
part  of  its  rightward  motion  in  adopting  a  reformist 
program  acceptable  to  sections  of  the  liberal  bourgeoisie. 
The  present  arguments  over  which  tendency  has  a  distorted 
interpretation  of  the  Ninth  World  Congress  decisions  are 
quite  beside  the  point. 

For  the  major  document  which  in  1963  laid  the  basis  for 
the  SWP's  unification  with  the  European  Pabloists  to  form 
the  United  Secretariat  stated:  "(13)  Along  the  road  of  a 
revolution  beginning  with  simple  democratic  demands  and 
ending  in  the  rupture  of  capitalist  property  relations, 
guerrilla  warfare  conducted  by  landless  peasants  and  semi- 
proletarian  forces,  under  a  leadership  that  becomes 
committed  to  carrying  the  revolution  through  to  a 
conclusion,  can  play  a  decisive  role  in  undermining  and 
precipitating  the  downfall  of  a  colonial  and  semi-colonial 
power.  This  is  one  of  the  main  lessons  to  be  drawn  from 
experience  since  the  second  world  war.  It  must  be 
consciously  incorporated  into  the  strategy  of  building 
revolutionary  Marxist  parties  in  colonial  countries."  ("For 
Early  Reunification  of  the  World  Trotskyist  Movement," 
Statement  of  the  Political  Committee  of  the  SWP,  SWP 
Discussion  Bulletin,  Volume  24,  Number  29,  April  1963, 
page  39.  Also  quoted  in  "On  the  Disputed  Questions  in  the 
Fourth  International:  A  Brief  Summary,"  by  C.  Howard 
(IMG),  SWP  Internal  Information  Bulletin,  Number  3  in 
1973,  June  1973,  page  25.) 

Interestingly,  at  that  same  time  the  oppositional 
tendency  which  later  became  the  Spartacist  League 
produced  the  following  explicit  counterposition  on 
continued  on  next  page 


20 


SPARTACIST 


Fight  in  the  USec... 

guerrilla  war:  "(15)  Experience  since  the  Second  World 
War  has  demonstrated  that  peasant-based  guerrilla 
warfare  under  petit-bourgeois  leadership  can  in  itself  lead 
to  nothing  more  than  an  anti-working-class  bureaucratic 
regime.  The  creation  of  such  regimes  has  come  about  under 
the  conditions  of  decayed  imperialism,  the  demoralization 
and  disorientation  caused  by  Stalinist  betrayals,  and  the 
absence  of  revolutionary  Marxist  leadership  of  the 
working  class.  Colonial  revolution  can  have  an  unequivo- 
cably  progressive  revolutionary  significance  only  under 
such  leadership  of  the  revolutionary  proletariat.  For 
Trotskyists  to  incorporate  into  their  strategy  revisionism 
on  the  proletarian  leadership  in  the  revolution  is  a 
profound  negation  of  Marxism-Leninism  no  matter  what 
pious  wish  may  be  concurrently  expressed  for  'building 
revolutionary  Marxist  parties  in  the  colonial  countries.' 
Marxists  must  resolutely  oppose  any  adventurist  accept- 
ance of  the  peasant-guerrilla  road  to  socialism — 
historically  akin  to  the  Social  Revolutionary  program  on 
tactics  that  Lenin  fought.  This  alternative  would  be  a 
suicidal  course  for  the  socialist  goals  of  the  movement,  and 
perhaps  physically  for  the  adventurers."  ("Towards 
Rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International — Draft  Resolution  on 
the  World  Movement,"  submitted  for  the  Minority  by 
Shane  Mage,  James  Robertson  and  Geoffrey  White,  SWP 
Discussion  Bulletin,  Volume  24,  Number  26,  June  1963, 
page  16.) 

It  might  now  appear  that  the  SWP  majority  has 
capitulated  to  Spartacism  on  the  guerrilla  war  question! 
Such  a  view  however  would  be  inverted.  The  SWP 
leadership's  present  opposition  to  guerrillaism  flows 
directly  from  its  reformist  appetites,  not  simply  from 
opposition  to  a  tactically  adventurist  policy.  The  Spartacist 
tendency,  while  condemning  tactical  adventurism,  op- 
posed guerrilla  war  primarily  because  of  its  class  content 
and  the  type  of  regime  which  emerges  from  it  if  successful. 

To  the  interjiational  majority's  "strategy  of  armed 
struggle,"  the  SWP  leadership  has  counterposed  "the 
strategy  of  the  Leninist  method  of  party  building."  Taken 
in  an  abstract  and  isolated  way,  the  term  "Leninist  method 
of  party  building"  is  meaningless  and  not  distinct  from  the 
Kautskyan  conception  of  party  building  by  the  old 
German  Social  Democracy.  It  is  deliberately  designed  to 
avoid  consideration  of  the  revolutionary  overthrow  of  the 
bourgeois  state.  And  the  SWP  leadership  wants  to  avoid 
such  a  discussion  because,  at  bottom,  it  is  opposed  to  the 
revolutionary  overthrow  of  the  capitalist  state. 

The  strongest  weapon  each  side  in  the  international 
discussion  possesses  is  the  obvious  departure  from 
Trotskyism  by  the  other  side.  Thus  the  international 
minority  can  denounce  the  PRT  for  Guevarism — but  only 
by  glossing  over  the  S  WP's  years-long  panegyrics  to  Castro 
and  Che.  It  can  denounce  the  Bolivian  POR  [Partido 
Obrero  Revolucionario]  (Gonzales)  for  joining  the  FRA 
[Frente  Revolucionario  Anti-Imperialista]  under  a  "com- 
mon bourgeois  program"  but  this  is  pure  hypocrisy  for  the 
enthusiasts  of  the  single-issue  reformist  NPACs  and 
WONAACs  [Women's  National  Abortion  Action  Coali- 
tion]. Only  those  at  a  great  distance  from  the  practice  of  the 


SWP  can  take  these  cynical  protestations  of  orthodoxy  as 
good  coin.  Similarly,  those  who  can  write  approvingly  of 
the  European  sections  for  a  presumed  proletarian 
orientation  are  simply  naive  if  they  are  not  willfully  blind. 

To  take  one  example:  "While  the  SWP  leadership 
interpreted  the  aborted  French  revolution  as  a  reaffirma- 
tion of  their  intercontinental-wide  student  strategy,  the 
European  comrades  absorbed  the  true  lessons:  the 
importance  of  being  able  to  challenge  the  Stalinists  and 
reformists  inside  the  workers  movement."  ("Statement  of 
Support  to  the  International  Majority  Tendency,"  by 
Ralph  Levitt  et  al.,  SWP  Discussion  Bulletin,  Volume  31, 
Number  1 1,  June  1973,  page  3.)  In  fact  the  entire  thrust  of 
the  Ligue  Communiste's  "from  the  periphery  to  the  center" 
strategy  is  the  thesis  that  the  party  can  conquer  the  crucial 
sections  of  the  proletariat  by  working  through  marginal 
and  petty-bourgeois  sectors,  precisely  without  having  to 
confront  the  entrenched  Stalinist  and  Social-Democratic 
leaderships  of  the  organized  workers  movement.  Similarly, 
the  international  majority's  protestations  of  outrage  at  the 
Canadian  section's  line  on  nationalism  in  English  Canada 
and  Quebec  are  exposed  as  empty  posturing  in  the  light  of 
the  European  sections'  own  capitulatory  positions  on  the 
"Arab  revolution,"  the  IRA,  the  Vietnamese  Stalinists,  and 
all  the  rest. 

Conclusion 

The  SWP  leadership  is  in  its  working  program 
committed  to  a  legalistic  perspective  based  on  class 
collaboration  as  that  which  flowered  in  Kautskyan  Social 
Democracy.  Only  the  absence  of  a  mass  base  in  the  trade- 
union  bureaucracy,  labor  aristocracy,  and  "progressive" 
petty  bourgeoisie  separates  the  SWP  from  classic  Social 
Democracy.  The  SWP's  present  "orthodox"  attack  on 
guerrilla  adventurism  is,  in  reality,  a  frightened  reaction  to 
the  threat  posed  by  the  international  majority  line  to 
disrupt  the  acquisition  of  such  a  mass  base  by  the  SWP,  i.e., 
it  is  based  upon  the  SWP's  own  opposition  to  the 
revolutionary  overthrow  of  the  state.  The  international 
majority  is  a  genuine  centrist  swamp.  Whatever  the 
subjective  revolutionary  intentions  of  some  of  them,  its 
denizens  range  from  the  thoroughly  corrupt  union 
bureaucrats  of  the  Ceylonese  LSSP(R)  [Lanka  Sama 
Samaj  Party  (Revolutionary)]  to  the  workerist  sectarians 
of  the  British  IMG  [International  Marxist  Group].  The 
international  majority  is  currently  defending  a  policy  of 
insurrectionary  nationalist  Stalinism  which  denies  the 
leading  role  of  the  proletariat  in  social  revolution  as 
concretized  in  the  military  dominance  of  workers  militias 
during  the  insurrection.  The  Fourth  International  as 
Trotsky  conceived  it— a  democratic-centralist  revolution- 
ary proletarian  international — can  only  emerge  through 
implacable  struggle  against  the  reformism  of  the  minority 
and  the  centrism  of  the  majority  tendency. 

July  9,  1973 

*The  above  contribution  is  not  a  document  of  or  does  not 
necessarily  express  the  views  of  the  other  members  of  the 
Revolutionary  Internationalist  Tendency.  [Footnote  in  the 
original.] 


SPRING  1977 


21 


Liga  Comunista. . . 

(continued  from  page  13) 

organized  workers.  As  to  the  call  for  a  workers  govern- 
ment, we  raise  this  as  a  call  for  the  dictatorship  of  the 
proletariat. 

It  is  possible  that  a  workers  government  might  arise  in  a 
dual  power  situation  and  would  be  transitional  in  the  sense 
of  not  yet  having  imposed  a  single  proletarian  state  power 
against  the  rule  of  capital.  But  we  warn  sharply  against  any 
attempt  to  turn  the  slogan  of  the  workers  government  into 
a  call  for  the  working-class  parties  to  administer  the 
capitalist  state  (as  both  the  majority  and  minority  of  the 
USec  do)  in  the  guise  of  being  a  tactical  application  of  the 
algebraic  slogan.  Particularly  in  a  general  strike  situation, 
the  task  of  the  workers  government  must  be  to  suppress  the 
capitalist  state  apparatus.  Any  attempt  to  take  it  over  (as  in 
Germany  in  November  1918,  when  an  SPD-USPD 
government  took  over  the  bourgeois  state  with  the 
"support"  of  the  reformist-dominated  workers  councils) 
must  mean  a  bloody  suppression  of  the  workers  in  the 
streets.  While  there  may  be,  in  the  event,  a  separation  in 
time  between  the  overthrow  of  the  dictatorship  and  the 
overthrow  of  capitalism,  the  communists  must  always  put 
forward  the  demand  for  the  overthrow  of  capitalism  rather 
than  some  kind  of  stagist  concept  (first  the  overthrow  of  the 
Franco  dictatorship  by  a  general  strike,  then  a  struggle 
against  capitalist  rule). 

"Democratic  Control  of  the  Army" 

In  this  respect,  a  slogan  which  has  appeared  in  several 
publications  of  the  LCE,  for  "democratic  control  of  the 
army"  as  a  task  of  the  workers  government,  seems 
dangerously  misleading.  In  some  cases  you  have  phrased 
this  as  "democratic  control  by  soldiers  committees,"  but  in 
either  case  it  tends  to  equate  the  situation  of  the  state 
apparatus  with  industrial  production  in  the  factories.  We 
do  not  call  for  workers  control  of  the  bourgeois  state 
apparatus  (much  less  "democratic"  control);  rather,  our 
task  is  to  smash  it.  Likewise,  the  task  of  the  soldiers 
committees  is  to  destroy — not  control — the  bourgeois 
army. 

Trotsky  trenchantly  criticized  this  dangerous  view  in  a 
polemic  against  the  POUM's  "thirteen  points  for  victory" 
during  the  Spanish  civil  war: 

"The  fourth  point  proclaims:  'For  the  creation  of  an  army 

controlled  by  the  working  class'  The  army  is  a  weapon  of 

the  ruling  class  and  cannot  be  anything  else.  The  army  is 
controlled  by  whoever  commands  it,  that  is,  by  whoever 
holds  state  power.  The  proletariat  cannot  'control'  an  army 
created  by  the  bourgeoisie  and  its  reformist  lackeys.  The 
revolutionary  party  can  and  must  build  its  cells  in  such  an 
army,  preparing  the  advanced  sections  of  the  army  to  pass 
over  to  the  side  of  the  workers." 

—"Is  Victory  Possible?'  April  1937 

Toward  the  Rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International! 

We  have  sought  to  lay  out  briefly  our  views  on  subjects 
where  there  seem  to  be  major  areas  of  disagreement 
between  the  international  Spartacist  tendency  and  the  Liga 
Comunista  of  Spain.  Unfortunately  we  cannot  take  up  all 
topics  at  once.  In  order  to  obtain  a  more  complete 


presentation  of  our  positions  on  fundamental  questions 
facing  the  workers  movement,  we  refer  you  to  the 
documents  collected  in  Cuadernos  Marxistas  No.  1.  And 
we  invite  a  reply  by  the  LCE. 

In  fighting  for  the  rebirth  of  the  Fourth  International, 
the  international  Spartacist  tendency  not  only  rejects  the 
fraudulent  claims  of  the  various  impostors  who  today 
claim  to  be  the  Fl.  We  also  counterpose  a  fundamentally 
different  concept  of  building  the  world  party  of  socialist 
revolution,  contrasting  with  Healy's  "International  Com- 
mittee," whose  phony  "dialectics"  serve  only  to  mask  a 
constantly  changing  line  and  whose  only  principle  is 
unconditional  submission  to  the  Fuhrer  principle;  with  the 
OCl's  "Organizing  Committee,"  whose  sole  basis  is 
abstract  acceptance  of  the  Transitional  Program  and 
agreement  that  it  has  "The  Continuity";  and  most 
especially  with  the  "United"  Secretariat,  which  seems  to 
have  as  its  only  criterion  for  membership  affirmation  of  the 
myth  that  it  is  the  Fourth  International. 

Because  we  struggle  to  crystallize  a  politically 
homogeneous  and  authentically  Trotskyist  democratic- 
centralist  international  tendency,  Mandel  accuses  the 
Spartacist  tendency  of  trying  to  build  a  "monolithic" 
International  (as  he  did  in  Australia  last  September)  and 
Alain  Krivine  accuses  us  of  equating  democratic  centralism 
with  "helmets  and  truncheons"  (a  speech  in  Toronto  in 
July  1974).  We  would  point  out,  however,  that  it  is  the 
Mandels,  Hansens  and  Krivines  who  have  repeatedly 
expelled  principled  left  oppositionists  from  their  organiza- 
tions, while  simultaneously  covering  up  the  betrayals  of 
their  own  factional  partners  (the  case  of  Bala  Tampoe,  for 
instance).  Our  tendency  is  not  "monolithic" — it  is  however 
founded  on  a  principled  basis  of  programmatic 
congruence. 

The  swamp  of  the  "United  Secretariat"  cannot  be 
reformed.  From  the  very  beginning  its  program  has  been 
based  on  Pabloist  revisionism,  committed  to  chasing  after 
an  endless  succession  of  petty-bourgeois  misleaders.  As 
this  putrescent  bloc  decomposes  at  an  accelerated  rate  into 
wings  which  want  either  to  capitulate  to  Guevarist  youth  or 
to  become  the  mainstream  social-democratic  party  of  their 
country,  the  task  of  principled  Trotskyists  is  not  to  seek 
unity  of  all  those  opposed  to  the  dominant  tendencies  in  the 
USec.  The  bankruptcy  of  this  approach  was  graphically 
demonstrated  by  the  ill-fated  "Third  Tendency,"  which 
could  not  agree  on  a  common  document  until  days  before 
the  "10th  World  Congress"  and  then  fell  apart  immediately 
afterwards.  Rather,  it  is  only  by  fighting  to  build  an 
authentic  Trotskyist  international  tendency  based  on  real 
political  agreement  that  the  Fourth  International  can  be 
re  forged.  ■ 


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22 


SPARTACIST 


Trotskyist  Faction... 

(continued  from  page  24) 

aggressive  political  confrontation  with  ostensibly  Trotsky- 
ist groups.  But  the  Nil  [Necessary  International  Initiative] 
is  by  no  means  an  "instrument"  of  such  policies,  rather  it 
constitutes  a  barrier  to  programmatic  regroupment.  The 
Nil  is  neither  an  open  forum  for  discussion  nor  a 
democratic-centralist  international  tendency.  Since  its 
formation  the  Nil  has  been  carrying  out  common 
propagandistic  work  (Portugal)  and  includes  a  mutual 
"non-aggression  pact" — the  questions  where  there  are 
political  differences  are  passed  over  in  silence  to  outsiders 
(and  to  a  large  extent  internally  as  well).  The  call  for 
discussion  at  the  conclusion  of  the  Nil  [document] 
expresses  its  character  as  a  rotten  bloc:  "all  those  who 
accept  the  spirit  of  this  general  statement  should  partici- 
pate." It  is  not  program  which  is  the  basis  of  participation, 
but  rather  a  feeling  of  mutual  iits— not  excluding  state 
capitalists,  for  example,  though  it  does  exclude  elements 
which  stand  on  Trotsky's  Transitional  Program. 

The  Nil  is  a  confused  conglomeration  of  left-Pabloist 
groups  which  have  gotten  together  on  the  basis  of  standing 
somewhere  to  the  left  of  the  USec  majority  and  to  the  right 
of  the  iSt.  What  truly  unites  the  Nil  (as  opposed  to 
Bender's  scholastic  exegeses  of  its  "spirit")  is:  1.  rejection  of 
the  Transitional  Program  of  1938  as  the  program  of  the 
imperialist  epoch;  2.  a  defeatist  position  on  the  split  in  the 
Fourth  International  in  1952-54;  3.  support  for  petty- 
bourgeois  nationalists  (for  example,  in  Angola:  "For  the 
Victory  of  the  MPLA,"  Spartacus  No.  22;  Lebanon, 
Palestine);  4.  electoral  support  to  workers  parties  in 
popular  fronts  (Chile  in  1970,  France  in  1973/74,  Pato  in 
Portugal,  the  "historic  compromise"  in  Italy). 

The  superfluous  character  of  the  Nil  becomes  evident  in 
its  contradictory  stance  toward  the  USec.  Whereas  the 
Spartacusbund  declared  at  the  time  of  the  Fifth  NC  that  it 
wanted  to  smash  the  USec  politically,  Roberto  wanted 
(wants?)  to  reform  it.  In  any  case  he  weeps  bitter  tears  for 
the  dead  and  gone  "Third  Tendency"  of  the  USec  (report 
on  the  meeting  of  the  Joint  Commission  of  the  Nil  on  2 
November  1976  in  Paris,  p.  1).  The  position  of  the 
Matgamna  group  (I-CL  [International-Communist 
League])  toward  the  USec  is  downright  impenetrable- 
after  years  of  "critical  support"  to  the  USec  its  present 
position  is:  "The  I-CL  continues  to  believe  that  the  USFI  is 
the  main  stream  that  has  emerged  from  the  communist 
tendency  personified  by  Leon  Trotsky"  ("The  I-CL  and  the 
Fourth  International,"  p.  6). 

OUT  OF  THE  ROTTEN  Nil  BLOC,  THE  Nil  IS  A 
BARRIER  WHICH  MUST  BE  SMASHED! 

The  Trotskyist  Faction  fights  for  a  policy  of  aggressive 
regroupment  on  the  basis  of  a  clear  Trotskyist  program.  In 
basing  our  politics  on  the  decisions  of  the  first  four 
Congresses  of  the  Comintern  and  on  the  founding 
documents  of  the  Fourth  International,  we  recognize  the 
further  programmatic  development  of  the  proletarian 
world  revolution  on  principled  bases — an  historical 
development  proceeding  from  the  revolutionary  phases  of 
the  international  world  parties  of  the  proletariat. 

This  statement  is  directed  at  all  Trotskyist  elements  in 
the  Spartacusbund.  By  our  analyses  we  shall  demonstrate 


to  these  comrades  that  the  defeats  of  the  Spartacusbund,  in 
particular  in  respect  to  its  present  main  task,  the 
construction  of  the  party  of  proletarian  world  revolution, 
are  not  tactical/ episodic  but  rather  derive  from  its 
programmatic  confusion,  from  its  understanding  of 
programmatic  particularism,  which  continue  to  unambig- 
uously stamp  it  as  a  centrist  organization  from  a  typical 
mold. 

Clarity  in  the  following  points  is  central  to  a  Trotskyist 
orientation: 

I.  The  Transitional  Program  is  the  program  of 
proletarian  world  revolution  in  our  epoch.  The  document 
springs  from  the  Marxist  methodology  in  analyzing  the 
present  historical  period.  Hence  the  basic  conclusions 
stemming  from  it  have  a  necessary  political  and  organiza- 
tional form  and  constitute  the  foundations  of  our  strategy 
and  tactics. 

We  thus  reject  all  suggestions  which  take  the  "destruc- 
tion" of  the  program  of  the  Fourth  International  as  the 
basis  for  political  work  and  which  therefore  must  inevitably 
lead  to  a  revision  of  the  Trotskyist  program.  The 
organizations  of  the  Nil,  which  are  by  no  means  of  one 
mind  as  to  when  the  Transitional  Program  became 
inadequate  and  how  it  is  to  be  "reconstructed,"  express 
only  their  common  revisionist  appetites  when  they  adopt 
this  position. 

II.  On  the  one  hand  the  "popular  front,"  on  the  other 
fascism— these  are  the  last  means  of  imperialism  against 
proletarian  revolution.  The  program  and  politics  of  such  a 
coalition  government  are  never  anything  but  bourgeois 
through  and  through.  We  thus  reject  all  tactical  maneuver- 
ing vis-a-vis  such  coalitions,  precisely  because  the  class  line 
passes  not  through  but  rather  outside  "popular  fronts." 

We  explicitly  reject  every  form  of  electoral  support  for 
parties  or  groups  taking  part  in,  or  directly  working 
toward,  a  "popular  front."  Only  a  break  with  the  bourgeois 
"allies"  may  make  such  critical  support  for  reformist  or 
revisionist  workers  organizations  possible.  The  FMR 
(Roberto)'s  electoral  support  ("Vote  red,"  printed  without 
criticism  in  Spartacus  No.  29)  for  the  "repulsive  class 
collaboration  of  the  PCI  [Communist  Party  of  Italy]" 
{ibid.)  is  merely  the  last  in  a  long  series  of  capitulations  vis- 
a-vis pop  fronts.  The  dividing  line  between  Bolshevism  and 
Menshevism  is,  as  Trotsky  wrote,  drawn  by  one's  attitude 
toward  popular  fronts. 

III.  The  social-democratic  and  Stalinist  parties  are  in 
their  essence  simultaneously  bourgeois  and  proletarian. 
These  parties  are  particularly  characterized  by  the 
antagonism  between  the  proletarian  class  and  a  traditional 
leadership,  between  the  working-class  rank  and  file  and  the 
worker  bureaucracy.  Hence  the  Stalinist,  as  well  as  the 
social-democratic,  parties  are  currents  in  the  workers 
movement  with  a  twofold  character.  They  are  simultane- 
ously bourgeois  and  workers  parties — or  in  Lenin's  words, 
"bourgeois  workers  parties." 

The  additional  ties  of  Stalinist  parties  to  the  "worker 
bureaucracies"  of  the  deformed  or  degenerated  workers 
states  do  not  in  principle  alter  the  quality  of  this  definition, 
since  these  bonapartist  bureaucracies  are  channels  for 
bourgeois  influence  on  the  workers  movement  (the 
Stalinist  parties'  severing  of  ties  with  these  state 
bureaucracies — as  in  Spain,  France  and  Italy— is  ex- 


SPRING  1977 


23 


pressed  as  a  process  of  their  transformation  into  national 
reformist  parties).  On  no  point  are  the  positions  of  the  Nil 
groups  more  contradictory  than  on  the  question  of 
reformism.  Though  the  Spartacusbund  (see  Tanas, 
Ergebnisse  und  Perspektiven  No.  2)  made  a  qualitative 
distinction  between  the  SPD  [Social  Democratic  Party  of 
Germany]  as  a  "bourgeois"  party  ("based  on  support  by  the 
workers")  and  Stalinist  workers  parties,  this  position  is 
contradicted  by  their  being  qualitatively  equated  in  the  Nil 
[document]  (which  speaks  of  the  "counterrevolutionary 
role  of  reformist  parties...,  [whether]  Stalinist  or  social- 
democratic").  The  I-CL  practices  entrism  in  the  Labour 
Party  and  gave  "critical  support"  to  Anthony  Benn  (as  a 
"Labour  left")  in  the  election  of  the  BLP's  new  candidate 
for  prime  minister. 

IV.  We  use  the  slogan  of  the  workers  government  in  the 
sense  in  which  it  was  understood  by  the  Bolsheviks  in  1917 
and  by  the  Fourth  International  in  its  founding  documents. 
Accordingly  it  is  an  anti-bourgeois,  anti-capitalist  slogan, 
in  which  the  need  for  the  proletariat  to  seize  power  by  its 
own  means  is  unambiguously  expressed.  All  the  slogans  of 
the  Transitional  Program,  i.e.,  our  entire  revolutionary 
strategy  and  tactics,  give  the  slogan  of  the  workers 
government  only  one  single  concrete  meaning,  namely,  as 
the  popular  term  for  the  dictatorship  of  the  proletariat. 

The  Spartacusbund's  fatal  misunderstanding  of  this 
slogan  emerges  most  brutally  in  its  demand  for  Spain, 
where  a  (PCE/PSOE  [Communist  Party/ Socialist  Party]) 
"workers  government"  brought  to  power  by  a  general 
strike  is  supposed  to  convene  a  Constituent  Assembly 
{Spartacus  No.  23).  This  slogan  is  identical  with  the 
demand  that  the  working  class  should,  after  a  successful 
uprising,  hand  over  power  to  the  "democratic"  counter- 
revolution (and  offers  a  close  analogy  to  events  in  Germany 
in  1918-19,  where  an  uprising  placed  power  in  the  hands  of 
the  Ebert-Scheidemann  "workers  government" — as  the 
Spartacusbund  understands  the  term — which  then,  after 
smashing  the  revolutionary  workers  movement,  proceeded 
to  convene  the  National  Assembly). 

V.  The  Trotskyist  Faction  supports  the  right  of  all 
nations  to  national  self-determination.  But  in  so  doing 
there  can  be  no  question  of  politically  supporting  petty- 
bourgeois  nationalist  hberation  movements;  instead  one 
must  carry  out  the  military  struggle  against  repressive 
imperialist  measures  in  common  with  them — under  one's 
own  flag.  In  no  case  do  we  give  our  military  support  in 
order  to  play  off  a  "more  progressive"  nationalist 
movement  against  other  petty-bourgeois  nationalist 
groups  or  even  to  assist  them  to  power  through  our  military 
support. 

Concerning  military  support  against  imperialist 
conquest,  we  are  in  every  case  guided  by  the  viewpoint  that 
in  the  last  analysis  the  working  class  can  come  to  power 
only  when  it  has  dealt  with  its  own  bourgeoisie.  The 
recognition  that  the  petty-bourgeois  nationalist  leaders  of 
today — if  victorious — are  the  national  bourgeoisie  of 
tomorrow  excludes  our  support  for  one  bourgeois- 
nationalist  faction  against  another,  since  the  sole  question 
is  who  will  stabilize  a  bourgeois-nationalist  regime.  From 
the  standpoint  of  the  historical  interests  of  the  working 
class  every  nationalism  is  reactionary. 

VI.  The  organizational  form  of  a  Trotskyist  party  is 


inseparably  linked  to  its  programmatic  clarity  and  consists 
in  practicing  democratic  centralism  in  line  with  the 
Bolshevik-Leninist  conception  (codified  in  the  Resolution 
on  the  Organization  Question  of  the  Third  World  Congress 
of  the  Comintern);  hence  it  must  be  recognized  from  the 
beginning  as  a  principle  to  be  applied  internationally.  The 
principle  of  democratic  centralism  means  the  most 
complete  freedom  of  discussion  internally,  along  with  a 
complete  unity  of  action  externally.  We  decisively  reject 
using  "external  freedom  of  criticism"  to  appeal  to 
backward  elements  of  the  working  class  standing  outside 
the  Marxist  organization  in  order  to  mobilize  these 
elements  against  other  sections  of  the  Marxist  Vanguard. 

VII.  We  recognize  that  a  currently  embryonic  party 
organization  must  necessarily  constitute  itself  in  the  form 
of  a  "fighting  propaganda  group"  in  order,  by  destroying 
ostensibly  revolutionary  organizafions,  to  initiate  and /or 
drive  forward  a  regroupment  process  in  order  thereby  to 
build  up  one's  own  organization. 

In  doing  so  the  character  of  this  work  must  always  be 
regarded  as  exemplary,  rejecting  out  of  hand  any 
voluntaristic  notion  of  intervening  as  a  propaganda  group 
into  all  the  daily  struggles  of  the  working  class,  inasmuch  as 
this  would  lead  to  dissipating  one's  own  forces  and  to 
liquidating  the  program. 

VIII.  The  Trotskyist  Faction  advocates  the  principle  of 
the  united  front  tactic,  according  to  which  complete 
freedom  of  criticism  must  be  preserved  in  each  action 
carried  out  jointly  with  other  organizations.  We  reject 
every  form  of  common  propaganda  with  other  organiza- 
tions. We  consistently  apply  the  principle  of  unity  in  a  given 
action,  which  must  have  a  short  term  and  practical  goal 
corresponding  to  the  method  of  "march  separately,  strike 
together."  Both  the  bloc  with  Quicuchi  [leader  of  a  small 
Angolan  group  much  touted  by  the  Spartacusbund]  and 
the  common  struggle  of  all  workers  organizations  "against 
the  police  state  and  repression"  (defensive-offensive 
alliance)  contradict  this  Leninist  concept  and  imply  a 
common  understanding  of  the  strategy  and  tactics  of 
proletarian  class  defense. 

IX.  Implanting  the  organization  in  the  working  class 
through  factory  and  trade-union  work  must  be  carried  out 
without  any  restrictions  at  the  programmatic  level  and,  at 
the  present  stage  of  constructing  the  party,  can  be  carried 
out  only  in  an  exemplary  fashion  if  one  is  not  to  succumb  to 
the  impressionist  pressure  of  possible  resulting  social 
relationships,  such  as  wishing  to  lead  or  initiate  struggles  in 
a  given  plant  or  trade  union  without  having  constructed  a 
leadership  there  as  the  instrument  of  the  party. 

"Communists  always  and  everywhere  advocate  the  historical 
tasks  of  the  proletariat  as  opposed  to  all  particular  interests, 
under  some  circumstances  even  without,  or  in  opposition  to. 
large  sections  of  the  working  class  and  its  organizations." 
— Resolution  of  the  Fifth  National  Congress  of  the 
Spartacusbund 

The  Trotskyist  Faction  is  fighting  for  support  to  the 
above  platform,  the  dividing  line  between  revolutionary 
Trotskyism  and  Menshevism. 

Berlin,  14  December  1976 


24 


SPARTACIST 


SPRING  1977 


Spartacusbund  Expels  Left  Opposition 

Trotskyist  Faction  Fuses 
with  TLD 


Reprinted  below  is  the  founding  document  of  the 
Trotskyist  Fraction  (TF)  of  the  German  Spartacusbund. 
When  confronted  by  a  principled  Trotskyist  opposition  at 
their  sixth  national  conference  in  January  1977,  the 
Spartacusbund  centrists  bureaucratically  expelled  the  TF 
solely  for  refusing  to  repudiate  its  political  positions  and  to 
"recognize  completely  the  authority  of  the  past  and  future 
leadership  of  the  Spartacusbund"  (see  "Trotskyist  Faction 
Expelled  by  Spartacusbund, "  Workers  Vanguard  No.  142, 
28  January  1977). 

Originating  as  a  left  split  from  the  German  section  of  the 
United  Secretariat  (VSec)  in  1969-70  the  Spartacusbund 
never  definitively  broke  with  central  tenets  and  traditions 
of  Pabloist  revisionism,  despite  its  short-lived  binge  of  self- 
criticism  and  left-sounding  ami- Pabloism  begun  at  the  fifth 
national  conference  in  August  1975.  Foundering  in  centrist 
disorientation,  and  increasingly  beset  by  severe  demorali- 
zation (losing  half  its  membership  during  the  past  year),  the 
disintegrating  Spartacusbund  in  March  1976  cast  its  lot 
with  the  so-called  "Necessary  International  Initiative" 
(Nil),  a  left-of-the-  USec  rotten  bloc  brokered  by  the  Italian 
Frazione  Marxista  Rivoluzionaria  (now  renamed  Lega 
Comunista)  and  also  including  the  Austrian  Internationale 
Kommunistische  Liga  and  the  British  International- 
Communist  League. 

As  the  TF  document  demonstrates,  the  Nil 
conglomerate  has  little  in  common  beyond  similar 
appetites  for  opportunist  maneuvers  with  the  USec  and 
mutual  antipathy  for  the  authentic  Trotskyism  upheld  by 
the  international  Spartacist  tendency.  Although  at  odds 
with  one  another  over  a  range  of  crucial  issues  the  centrist 
groups  lashed  together  in  the  Nil  share  a  Pabloist 
methodology  which  finds  its  fullest  expression  in  their 
rejection  of  the  Transitional  Program;  the  Nil  document 
claims  that  both  the  Fourth  International  and  the 
Trotskyist  program  were  "destroyed"  during  World  War  II 
and  consequently  must  be  "reconstructed"  anew. 

Following  their  expulsion  from  the  Spartacusbund  the 
comrades  of  the  TF  began  extensive  political  discussions 
with  the  Trotzkistische  Liga  Deutschlands,  German 
section  of  the  international  Spartacist  tendency.  At  the 
beginning  of  February  1977  the  two  organizations  fused. 


The  Fifth  National  Conference  stated:  "The  Spartacus- 
bund must  break  radically  with  its  nationally  limited 
past . . . ."  This  desire  to  break  with  the  "national  Trotsky- 
ism" of  the  early  Spartacusbund  (and  of  the  KJO 
[Kommunistischen  Jungendorganisation]  and  BL 
[Spartacus/Bolschewiki-Leninisten])  was  a  positive 
impulse— as  was  the  stated  wish  to  put  an  end  to  the 


"practice  of  unprincipled  propaganda  blocs"  and  to 
"politics  beneath  the  level  of  the  Transitional  Program," 
which  also  found  expression  in  the  "Resolution  of  the  Fifth 
NC"  (Spartacus  No.  19,  August  1975). 

Such  a  break  with  the  practice  of  the  past  was  and  is 
particularly  pressing  in  view  of  genuine  possibilities  for  a 
Trotskyist  regroupment  on  an  international  scale.  In  the 
period  after  the  Tenth  World  Congress  there  occurred  a 
number  of  "cold"  splits,  after  effects  of  the  Chilean  defeat, 
between  the  European-led  majority  of  the  USec  [United 
Secretariat  of  the  Fourth  International — USFI]  and  the 
SWP  [Socialist  Workers  Party]-led  minority  (Argentina, 
Australia,  Canada,  USA,  etc.).  In  addition,  the  interna- 
tional "Third  Tendency"  for  the  most  part  dissolved: 
elements  of  it  have  capitulated  to  the  majority  (as  with  the 
Kompass  tendency  in  the  GIM  [Gruppe  Internationale 
Marxisten]),  have  gone  over  to  the  SWP  faction  (parts  of 
"Tendency  Four"  in  the  LCR  [Ligue  Communiste 
Revolutionnaire]  and  parts  of  the  Italian  FMR  [Frazione 
Marxista  Rivoluzionaria])  or  have  either  split  or  been 
expelled  (the  Roberto  wing  of  the  FMR,  etc.).  Finally, 
groupings  from  the  USec  have  gone  over  to  the  iSt,  as  with 
a  wing  of  the  FMR,  several  groupings  from  the  LCR,  etc. 

At  present  the  opportunities  for  programmatic  regroup- 
ment are  perhaps  even  more  favorable  than  last  year.  The 
Maoist  Stalinists  have  been  plunged  into  a  process  of 
political  fermentation  by  the  events  in  China  and  are 
obviously  beginning  to  fragment.  In  the  course  of  the  year 
the  SWP-PST  [Partido  Socialista  de  los  Trabajadores] 
bloc  has  broken  up  and  the  general  crisis  of  the  USec  has 
intensified  (Mandel  announces  his  willingness  to  put  aside 
"labels"  like  the  "Fourth  International"  should  his 
revisionist  appetites  demand  this).  Since  its  support  for 
Mitterrand  in  1974,  the  OCI  [Organisation  Communiste 
Internationaliste]  has  been  moving  rapidly  to  the  right:  it  is 
casting  amorous  eyes  at  the  SWP,  publishes  its  weekly 
paper  Informations  Ouvrieres  not  as  a  party  organ  but 
rather  as  a  "free  tribune  of  class  struggle"  and  is 
increasingly  incapable  of  drawing  the  class  line  in  its 
solidarity  campaigns  for  those  being  politically  persecuted 
in  East  Europe  (the  reformist  I AK  [Internationale  Arbeiter 
Korrespondenz],  without  a  tradition  and  base,  merely 
presents  the  opportunist  tendencies  of  the  Lambertistes  in  a 
particularly  crass  form).  The  Healyites  are  sinking  lower 
than  ever  before  with  their  gangster  tactics,  their  slanders 
of  Hansen  and  Novack,  their  celebration  of  Libyan 
"socialism,"  and  the  fact  that  they  have  been  able  to  set  up 
their  national  office  in  Essen  can  be  ascribed  only  to  the 
pitiful  weakness  of  the  Spartacusbund. 

This  situation  requires  an  international  tactic  of 
continued  on  page  22 


SPARTAaST 


NUMBER  24 


AUTUMN  1977 


50  CENTS 


Class  Opposition  to  Popular  Fronts— Key  to 
Revolutionary  Regroupment 

Chilean  OTR  Fuses  with 
Spartacist  Tendency 


—reprinted  from  Workers  Vanguard  No.  172, 
9  September  1977 

The  1977  European  summer  camp  of  the  international 
Spartacist  tendency  (iSt)  witnessed  a  fusion  which  is 
unique  in  the  history  of  the  iSt  and  of  considerable  interest 
and  significance  to  would-be  revolutionists  throughout  the 
world.  The  Organizacion  Trotskista  Revolucionaria 
(OTR)  of  Chile  united  with  the  iSt,  and  is  now  the  Chilean 
sympathizing  section  of  our  common  tendency.  While  the 
proportions  on  both  sides  are  modest,  this  fusion 
represents  a  ringing  affirmation  and  confirmation  of 
Trotsky's  1935  remark  that:  "In  reality,  the  Popular  Front 
is  the  main  question  of  Proletarian  class  strategy  for  this 
epoch."  The  OTR  and  iSt  met  on  the  common  terrain  of 
militant  class  opposition  to  bourgeois  popular  frontism, 
and  it  was  by  generalizing  this  position  of  proletarian  inde- 
pendence to  all  major  international  questions  that  a  joining 
of  our  forces  became  possible  and  necessary. 

For  the  iSt  this  fusion  marks  a  significant  extension  of 
our  tendency,  as  it  is  the  first  Latin  American  section.  It 
thus  represents  the  addition  of  an  important  body  of 
revolutionary  experience  to  a  movement  previously  limited 
to  sections  in  North  America,  Europe  and  Australasia.  For 
the  OTR  it  signifies  the  overcoming  of  national  isolation 
and  the  culmination  of  its  break  with  Pabloism  begun  some 
years  before.  While  holding  firm  to  their  opposition  to 
popular  frontism,  the  Chilean  comrades  have  proven 
capable  of  uncompromisingly  reevaluating  their  past  views 
in  the  light  of  international  experience,  the  indispensable 
precondition  for  assimilating  authentic  Leninism.  For 
anyone  familiar  with  the  continental  parochialism  and 
rampant  revisionism  of  Latin  American  "Trotskyism,"  this 
is  a  tremendous  achievement. 


But  the  central  significance  of  the  OTR/iSt  fusion  is  to 
underline  the  Trotskyist  analysis  of  the  popular  front,  the 
tying  of  the  working  masses  to  "progressive"  capitalists — 
or  even  "phantom"  capitalists  (provincial  lawyers  and  the 
like)  when  the  real  bourgeoisie  in  its  entirety  has  staked  its 
existence  on  the  triumph  of  naked  reaction — with  the 
purpose  of  preventing  a  proletarian  uprising  against  all 
wings  of  the  bourgeois  class  enemy.  A  tragically  prophetic 
article  in  Spartacist  in  the  fall  of  1970  warned  that  the 
AUende  coalition,  the  Unidad  Popular(UP),  was  a  popular 
front  such  as  in  France,  Spain  and  Chile  during  the  1930's, 
and  must  be  resolutely  opposed  by  proletarian  revolution- 
ists. At  a  time  when  millions  of  Chileans  and  leftists 
throughout  the  world  were  hailing  the  "companero  presi- 
dente"  and  talking  of  a  second  Cuba,  we  wrote:  "Any 
'critical  support'  to  the  Allende  coalition  is  class  treason, 
paving  the  way  for  a  bloody  defeat  for  the  Chilean  working 
people  when  domestic  reaction,  abetted  by  international 
imperialism,  is  ready." 

In  reality,  this  seemingly  prescient  statement  was  neither 
especially  original  nor  did  it  require  a  crystal  ball.  We  were 
simply  repeating  the  lesson  of  Spain,  acting  as  any  Leninist 
party  should,  as  the  memory  of  the  working  class.  It  would 
seem  to  be  the  ABC  of  Trotskyism,  yet  every  other 
international  tendency  which  claims  that  heritage  managed 
to  obscure  or  directly  deny  the  popular-front  character  of 
the  Allende  regime. 

Within  Chile,  the  groups  to  the  left  of  the  Communist 
and  Socialist  parties  were  disoriented  by  the  1970  UP 
election  victory.  The  most  notorious  case  was  that  of  the 
Castroite  MIR  (Movimiento  de  Izquierda  Revoluciona- 
ria—  Movement  of  the  Revolutionary  Left)  which  flip- 
flopped  from  guerrillaist  opposition  to  participation  in 

coniinuecl  on  page  2 


Theses  on  Ireland  16 


4 


SPARTACIST 


Chilean  OTR  Fuses  with 
Spartacist  Tendency ... 

(continued  from  pa(^e  3) 

Pinochet  coup;  but  unlike  those  who  seek  to  reconstruct 
the  decimated  MIR,  or  the  USec  majority  which  is  mainly 
concerned  to  cover  its  own  tracks  of  total  support  to 
Guevarist  guerrillaism,  the  OTR  has  drawn  the  lessons  of 
the  terrible  defeat  represented  by  September  1 1  and 
proclaimed  the  bankruptcy  of  guerrillaism  in  all  its 
varieties. 

Leninism  on  the  Organization  Question 

In  Chile  the  OTR  lacked  Leninist  organizational  norms: 
the  definition  of  membership  was  fluid,  it  never  had  a  party 
press,  etc.  This  organizational  practice  was  naturally 
maintained  in  exile,  where  the  pressures  toward  a  "circle 
spirit"  among  a  small  band  of  survivors  are  enormous. 
Nevertheless,  as  the  OTR  evolved  toward  the  Spartacist 
tendency  this,  equally  naturally,  led  to  internal  struggles 
and  splits.  These  are,  however,  difficult  to  resolve  without 
assimilating  and  applying  the  Leninist  norms  of  democrat- 
ic centralism.  It  was  problems  centering  around  the 
organization  question  that  for  some  months  held  up  the 
fusion  perspective  that  had  been  voted  in  May  1976  and 
which  dominated  the  activity  of  the  OTR  in  the  last  year. 
As  Cde.  Ivan  of  the  OTR  put  it  in  a  presentation  to  a 
meeting  of  the  International  Executive  Committee  (lEC)  of 
the  iSt  at  the  1977  European  summer  camp: 

"The  OTR  was  an  organization  in  exile  and  dispersed  over 
various  continents.  Basically  there  were  two  questions  which 
impeded  fusion  last  year.  One  was  the  organizational 
weakness  of  the  OTR,  which  as  a  result  led  us  to  a  federative 
concept  of  the  party.  But  behind  this  was  an  important 
political  point,  and  that  is  that  the  OTR  hoped  to  unite  its 
central  cadre  in  Europe.  We  had  difficulties  in  bringing  about 
a  joint  development  of  all  our  cadre,  and  the  European 
nucleus  did  not  have  a  Leninist  methodology  to  overcome 
this  problem." 

The  difficulties  centered  on  the  struggle  to  win  over  an 
important  member  of  the  leadership  who  had  only  recently 
arrived  from  Latin  America.  Finding  himself  cut  off  from  a 
base  and  confined  to  the  limitations  of  a  small  Trotskyist 
propaganda  nucleus,  this  comrade  began  elaborating  plans 


behind  the  backs  of  the  leadership;  acts  of  organizational 
indiscipline  soon  led  to  an  open  political  break,  as  he  failed 
to  defend  the  OTR  program  publicly,  breaking  explicit 
instructions.  As  the  OTR  reporter  noted  in  his  presentation 
to  the  lEC: 

"...in  the  final  analysis  Cde.  Bias  presented  a  perspective 
which  was  counterposed  to  Trotskyism  and  to  Lenin's 
concept  of  the  party,  basing  himself  on  the  argument  that  we 

can't  break  our  ties  with  the  masses  Thus  in  practice  he 

was  incapable  of  defending  the  entirety  of  the  communist 
program  

"A  few  days  ago  this  process  came  to  an  end,  and  in  a  task 
carried  out  in  full  consultation  with  the  comrades  from  the 
International  we  formalized  Bias'  split  from  the  Trotskyist 
program.  For  the  OTR,  the  most  important  thing  in  this 
process  was  that  the  break  with  our  past  methodology 
opened  the  path  to  genuine  Leninism." 

An  Iskra  Perspective 

The  OTR  now  faces  tremendous  opportunities  and 
responsibilities.  The  Chilean  bonapartist  junta,  lacking  a 
significant  social  base  of  support  and  having  been  unable  to 
atomize  the  proletariat  and  wipe  out  its  leadership,  will  not 
last  even  as  long  as  the  Brazilian  military  dictatorship.  In 
the  meantime,  those  leftists  who  survived  the  bloodbath 
have  been  concentrated  in  large  numbers  in  exile  centers  in 
Europe  and  Latin  America.  Here  there  is  an  extraordinary 
opportunity  to  reach  tens  of  thousands  of  committed 
militants  and  to  challenge  the  left  to  seriously  draw  a 
balance  sheet  of  the  Allende  regime.  This  is  by  no  means 
limited  to  Chilean  militants,  for  the  Chilean  Qxperience  has 
global  importance  and  is  decisive  for  the  formation  of 
revolutionary  nuclei  in  the  key  countries  of  Latin  America. 

Among  those  who  reject  the  popular  front,  Stalinism, 
social  democracy  and  guerrillaism  a  dialogue  could  be 
initiated.  Through  polemical  combat  the  superiority  pf  the 
Trotskyist  analysis  and  program  can  be  demonstrated,  and 
the  core  of  an  authentic  Leninist  propaganda  group  forged 
and  politically  prepared  for  the  tasks  which  will  face  it 
when  the  bloody  Pinochet  dictatorship  falls  and  the  crucial 
battle  to  break  the  working  class  from  the  reformists  begins 
in  earnest. 

Key  to  this  perspective  is  the  question  of  the  press.  In  the 
coming  period  the  principal  voice  for  the  OTR  will  be  the 
Spanish  edition  of  Spartacist,  to  be  published  three  times  a 


SPARTACIST 

An  Organ  of  Revolutionary  Marxism 


•  Spartacist,  deutsche  Ausgabe 
$0.60 

•  Spartacist,  English  edition 
$0.50 

•  Spartacist,  Edition  tran^ise 
$0.60 

•  Spartacist,  edicl6n  en  espaflol 
$0.60 

ORDER  FROM/PAY  TO: 
Spartacist  Publishing  Co. 
Box  1377,  GPO 
New  York,  NY  10001,  USA 


AUTUMN  1977 


5 


year,  whose  editorial  board  now  includes  members  of  the 
OTR.  This  is  intended  to  be  an  Iskra-lype  publication, 
including  polemics  and  analyses  directed  primarily  at  the 
Latin  American  exile  milieu  and  to  leftists  in  the  Iberian 
peninsula.  In  addition  the  OTR  will  work  toward  the 
initiation  of  its  own  press,  beginning  in  a  modest  format 
and  with  irregular  frequency.  Along  with  the  struggle  to 
build  a  solid,  programmatically  united  and  politically 
homogeneous  organization  in  exile  will  naturally  come  the 
difficult  task  of  attempting  to  get  this  press  into  the  hands 
of  the  militants  of  the  Chilean  working  class  wherever  they 
are. 

In  all  this,  as  a  member  of  a  democratic-centralist 
international  tendency,  the  OTR  will  count  on  the  full 
political  support  and  all  possible  material  assistance  of  the 
iSt.  But  there  is  no  denying  that  the  demands  are  enormous 
and  our  total  resources  qualitatively  inadequate.  However, 
the  OTR  has  an  important  political  capital  which  cannot  be 
minimized:  unlike  the  pseudo-Trotskyists,  it  represents  a 
coherent  and  powerful  political  line  which  was,  tragically, 
proven  correct  by  the  demise  of  the  deadly  popular  front. 


Chile  1970-73  has  had  an  impact  on  the  political 
development  of  the  current  revolutionary  generation 
similar  to  that  of  the  Spanish  Civil  War  in  the  late  1930's. 
The  Trotskyists  who  warned  that  the  popular  front  was 
leading  to  a  bloody  massacre  should  recall  their  warnings 
to  educate  those  who  did  not  heed  them  at  the  time  but 
desire  to  avoid  a  repeat  of  thp  holocaust.  Yet  Mandel's 
USec  and  the  OCTs  "Organizing  Committee"  hide  their 
Chilean  groups  rather  than  highlighting  them — and  for 
good  reason:  they  did  not  issue  such  warnings  but  instead 
apologized  for  the  popular  front. 

We  are  still  weak  as  a  political  force,  but  the  strength  and 
promise  of  the  OTR/iSt  fusion— what  enabled  these 
militants  to  cross  the  tremendous  gulf  from  Pabloism, 
workerism,  Guevarism  to  Trotskyism—comes  from  the 
fact  that  it  is  built  on  fundamental  Marxist  principles: 
"To  face  reality  squarely;  not  to  seek  the  line  of  least 
resistance;  to  call  things  by  their  right  names;  to  speak  the 
truth  to  the  masses,  no  matter  how  bitter  it  may  be;  not  to 
fear  obstacles;  to  be  true  in  little  things  as  in  big  ones;  to  base 
one's  program  on  the  logic  of  the  class  struggle;  to  be  bold 
when  the  hour  for  action  arrives — these  are  the  rules  of  the 
Fourth  International."* 


Declaration  of  Fraternal  Relations 

between  the  international  Spartacist  tendency 
and  tlie  Organizacidn  Trotskista  Revolucionaria 

ofCliile 


^reprinted  from  Workers  Vanguard  No.  Ill, 
28  May  1976 

I 

The  events  of  1970  to  1973  in  Chile  posed,  and  continue 
to  pose,  a  fundamental  test  of  the  revolutionary  capacity  of 
all  who  claim  to  speak  in  the  historic  interests  of  the 
working  class.  The  self-proclaimed  socialists  who  bound 
the  exploited  masses  to  the  "constitutionalist"  officers  and 
"anti-imperialist"  bourgeoisie  through  the  Popular  Unity 
(UP)  coalition  acted  as  a  roadblock  to  revolution,  and 
therefore  an  accomplice  of  counterrevolution.  The  first 
task  of  those  who  would  prepare  a  proletarian  insurrection 
to  sweep  away  the  bourgeois  state,  today  in  the  hands  of  the 
blood-drenched  Pinochet  dictatorship,  must  be  to  draw  the 
lessons  of  the  AUende  popular  front.  Only  in  this  manner 
can  the  masses  be  broken  from  their  treacherous  reformist 
and  centrist  misleaders  who  paved  the  way  for  the  coup  of 
II  September  1973.  At  that  time  the  bourgeois  popular 
front  was  replaced  by  another  form  of  capitalist  rule,  the 
bonapartist  military  junta,  which  balances  between  the 
fractions  and  cliques  of  the  middle  and  big  bourgeoisie, 
reflecting  the  pressure  of  the  major  imperialist  powers. 
Already  in  late  1970  the  Spartacist  tendency  warned: 
"It  is  the  most  elementary  duty  for  revolutionary  Marxists  to 
irreconcilably  oppose  the  Popular  Front  in  the  election  and 
to  place  absolutely  no  confidence  in  it  in  power.  Any 'critical 
support'  to  the  Allende  coalition  is  class  treason,  paving  the 


way  for  a  bloody  defeat  for  the  Chilean  working  people  when 
domestic  reaction,  abetted  by  international  imperialism,  is 
ready." 

Tragically,  there  was  no  Trotskyist  party  in  Chile  to 
galvanize  the  workers  around  the  Marxist  program  of  class 
independence,  and  the  Spartacist  warning  proved  all  too 
accurate. 

II 

As  Trotsky  remarked  in  1935:  "In  reality,  the  Popular 
Front  is  the  main  question  of  Proletarian  class  strategy  for 
this  epoch.  It  also  offers  the  best  criterion  for  the  difference 
between  Bolshevism  and  Menshevism." 

The  largest  purportedly  revolutionary  organization 
formally  outside  the  UP  coalition,  the  MIR  (Revolution- 
ary Left  Movement),  was  incapable  of  presenting  a  class 
opposition  to  the  popular  front.  While  attracting  a  layer  of 
militant  youth  fundamentally  from  the  petty  bourgeoisie, 
and  periodically  criticizing  the  Communist  Party  (CP),  the 
MIR  never  broke  from  the  Popular  Unity.  Following  the 
September  1970  elections  it  called  on  the  masses  to  support 
Allende;  today  the  MIR  is  part  of  the  popular  front  in  exile, 
seeking  to  "broaden"  the  class-collaborationist  coalition  by 
including  even  Christian  Democrats.  The  individual 
heroism  of  many  MIR  militants  cannot  hide  the  political 
bankruptcy  of  these  Chilean  Castroites,  the  left  cover  of  the 
popular  front. 

Nor  did  the  Chilean  disciples  of  the  several  self- 
continued  on  next  page 


6 


SPARTACIST 


iSt/OTR  Declaration  of 
Fraternal  Relations... 

(continued  from  page  5) 

proclaimed  "Fourth  Internationals"  present  a  Trotskyist 
policy  of  irreconcilable  hostility  to  popular  frontism.  The 
sympathizers  of  the  "United"  Secretariat  (USec)  were 
either  mired  in  perpetual  "deep  entry"  in  the  Socialist  Party 
(the  traditional  graveyard  for  pseudo-Trotskyists  in  Chile) 
or  fawningly  crawling  after  the  MIR.  (In  fact,  the  USec 
played  a  central  role  in  creating  the  MIR,  but  this  did  not 
prevent  the  Castroites  from  summarily  expelling  them  two 
years  later  for  "Trotskyism."  Such  are  the  rewards  of 
opportunism!)  The  USec  supporters  labeled  the  bourgeois 
I  elements  of  the  UP  irrelevant,  alibiing  the  Allende  regime 
with  the  label  "reformist"  and  calling  on  it  to  carry  out  its 
own  bourgeois  program. 

As  for  the  two  Chile  groups  adhering  to  the  "Organizing 
Committee  for  the  Reconstruction  of  the  Fourth  Interna- 
tional" led  by  the  French  OCI.  neither  of  them  character- 
ized the  UP  as  a  popular  front  until  after  the  Pinochet 
coup;  and  the  minuscule  Posadista  group  considered  the 
Allende  regime  as  a  "revolutionary  government,"  a 
category  in  which  it  also  includes  the  military  juntas  of 
Peru  and  Panama. 

iir 

However,  some  militants  in  Chile  did  seek  to  oppose  the 
class  collaboration  of  the  two  dominant  reformist,  or  as 
Lenin  said,  bourgeois  workers  parties  (Communist  and 
Socialist).  In  late  1972,  elements  of  the  TRO  (Revolution- 
ary October  Tendency,  allied  with  the  reformist  interna- 
tional minority  of  the  USec)  refused  to  go  along  with  a 
fusion  with  the  FRT  (Revolutionary  Trotskyist  Front,  led 
by  L.  Vitale  and  allied  with  the  centrist  USec  majority) 
because  of  the  failure  to  resolve  (or  even  discuss) 
differences  on  Cuba  and  guerrillaism,  and  the  lack  of  a 
revolutionary  policy  toward  the  UP.  Consequently,  this 
grouping  was  immediately  expelled  by  the  central 
committee  elected  at  the  founding  congress  of  the  PSR 
(Revolutionary  Socialist  Party)  amid  charges  of  "ultra- 
leftism." 

The  expelled  tendency,  which  became  the  Revolutionary 
Trotskyist  Organization  (OTR),  includes  among  its  central 
leadership  trade  unionists  with  many  years  of  experience 
leading  struggles  of  the  Chilean  miners,  both  against  the 
U.S.  monopolies  and  state  agencies  of  the  Chilean 
bourgeoisie.  Having  broken  with  the  SP,  in  the  March  1973 
legislative  elections  they  called  for  votes  to  the  Popular 
Socialist  Union  (USOPO),  a  split-off  from  the  SP,  while 
giving  it  no  political  confidence.  Although  the  USOPO 
leaders  were  reformists,  they  had  been  forced  to  break  with 
the  popular  front  because  of  leftist  opposition  among 
copper  miners  (its  base)  to  the  UP.  Shortly  before  the 
Pinochet  coup  leaders  of  the  OTR  were  at  the  head  of  a 
workers  march  in  Santiago  demanding  "break  with  the 
bourgeoisie." 

Subsequently,  in  a  document  approved  by  its  congress  in 
October  1974,  "A  Political  Defeat  and  the  Need  for  a 
Balance  Sheet,"  the  OTR  wrote: 

"To  say  that  the  character  of  the  UP  was  reformist  means 
being  an  accomplice  to  the  betrayals  committed. . . .  Thus  the 


UP  must  be  included  in  the  list  of  the  old  popular  fronts,  the 
model  designed  to  betray  the  working  class." 

IV 

At  the  time  of  the  shotgun  wedding  which  formed  the 
PSR  in  November  1972,  the  tendency  which  became  the 
Revolutionary  Trotskyist  Organization  of  Chile  had 
already  experienced  the  unprincipled  maneuvering  of  the 
competing  factions  of  the  USec.  In  exile,  the  OTR  came 
into  direct  contact  with  the  United  Secretariat  leadership. 
Although  invited  to  the  USec's  "Tenth  World  Congress,"  it 
was  informed  that  there  would  be  no  discussion  on  Chile! 
This  was  only  logical  for  a  fake-International  which  had 
formally  declared  the  Allende  regime  a  popular  front  in 
1971,  while  none  of  its  sympathizing  groups  in  Chile  ever 
held  this  position;  and  then,  following  the  1973  coup, 
posthumously  rehabilitated  the  UP  to  -the  status  of 
"reformist."  Clearly  any  honest  balance  sheet  of  the 
Chilean  events  could  only  be  a  condemnation  of  the  USec's 
own  opportunism  and  failure  to  present  a  revolutionary 
opposition  to  class  collaboration. 

The  OCI,  like  the  USec,  had  termed  the  Allende  regime  a 
popular  front  (although  not  taking  the  decisive  step  of 
calling  for  electoral  opposition  to  all  the  parties  of  the  UP 
coalition)  while  its  Chilean  supporters  failed  to  make  this 
characterization.  In  discussions  with  the  OCI,  the  OTR 
sharply  rejected  the  former's  call  for  a  vote  for  Mitterrand 
(candidate  of  the  popular-front  Union  of  the  Left  in  the 
1974  French  presidential  elections)  and  opposed  the  OCI 
policy  of  tailing  after  the  Portuguese  Socialist  Party.  In 
1971,  after  playing  a  fundamental  role  in  frustrating 
chances  for  a  Bolivian  revolution  by  its  capitulatory 
centrist  policies,  the  OCI's  main  Latin  American  ally,  the 
POR  of  G.  Lora,  concluded  a  political  pact  with  the  ousted 
Bolivian  ex-president.  General  Torres.  Subsequently  the 
OCI  has  called  for  extending  this  alliance  with  the  "anti- 
imperialist"  bourgeoisie  to  a  continental  scale — a  Latin 
American  super-Kuomintang.  Such  treacherous  policies 
demonstrate  the  appetites  of  these  pseudo-Trotskyists  to 
commit  betrayals  as  monstrous  as  those  of  the  Chilean  SP 
and  CP. 

Coming  into  contact  with  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency  (iSt),  the  OTR  found  itself  in  fundamental 
agreement  with  the  iSt's  consistent  class  opposition  to  the 
popular  front,  put  forward  in  positions  taken  even  at  the 
height  of  Allende's  popularity  and  expressed  in  the  articles 
collected  in  Cuademos  Marxistas  No.  3  ("Chile:  Lecciones 
del  Frente  Popular").  This  initial  agreement  was  extended 
to  include  the  understanding  of  the  nature  of  Cuba  as  a 
bureaucratically  deformed  workers  state.  The  opportunists 
of  the  United  Secretariat  formed  their  pseudo- 
International  on  the  basis  of  capitulating  to  Castro's 
popularity  among  petty-bourgeois  radicals,  terming  Cuba 
a  healthy  workers  state  that  merely  "lack[ed]  the  forms"  of 
proletarian  democracy.  In  contrast,  the  forerunner  of  the 
Spartacist  League/ U.S.,  the  Revolutionary  Tendency 
(RT)  of  the  U.S.  Socialist  Workers  Party  (SWP),  insisted 
that  Cubanvas  a  deformed  workers  state,  and  that  workers 
democracy  could  only  be  achieved  through,  political 
revolution  led  by  a  Trotskyist  party.  It  was  for  defending 
this  Marxist  program  that  the  RT  was  expelled  by  the 
SWP,  as  part  of  the  latter's  rapid  degeneration  through 
centrism    to    cringing    social-democratic  reformism. 


AUTUMN  1977 


7 


Through  a  discussion  of  the  history  of  the  international 
Trotskyist  movement,  the  USec  capitulation  to  Castroism 
was  traced  to  the  Pabloist  liquidationism  which  had 
destroyed  the  Fourth  International  in  1951-53. 

V 

Among  the  earlier  political  positions,  inherited  from 
Paloism,  which  the  OTR  had  to  reevaluate,  the  question 
of  guerrillaism  was  the  most  difficult.  While  in  the  TRO, 
the  tendency  which  became  the  OTR  had  been  strongly 
guerrillaist,  accusing  the  TRO  leadership  of  failure  to  carry 
out  the  decision  of  the  U  See's  "Ninth  World  Congress"  on 
"armed  struggle"  in  Latin  America.  While  the  OTR  had 
rejected  peasant-based  "foco"  guerrilla  war,  it  stood  for 
guerrilla  struggle  by  the  workers. 

In  discussions  with  the  iSt,  the  OTR  came  to  the 
conclusion  that  Marxists  must  oppose  guerrillaism.  As  the 
Revolutionary  Tendency  stated  in  1963,  "Experience  since 
the  Second  World  War  has  demonstrated  that  peasant- 
based  guerrilla  warfare  under  petit-bourgeois  leadership 
can  in  itself  lead  to  nothing  more  than  an  anti-working 
class  bureaucratic  regime"  ("Toward  the  Rebirth  of  the 
Fourth  International").  Moreover,  whether  in  rural  or 
urban  (Tupamaros)  forms,  whether  as  Guevarism,  Maoist 
"people's  war"  or  in  a  "Trotskyist"  disguise  (as  in  the  case  of 
the  Argentine  PRT/ERP),  guerrillaism  is  hostile  to 
proletarian  revolution  and  inevitably  leads  to — or  is  the 
reflection  of — Stalinist  "two-stage"  conceptions  if  not 
outright  petty-bourgeois  nationalism. 

The  proletariat  cannot  sustain  guerrilla  war,  for  the  very 
concept  implies  the  absence  of  a  revolutionary  situation 
and  the  kind  of  irregular  fighting  which  requires  an  ability 
to  retreat  rapidly.  In  addition  to  its  clear  class  interest,  it  is 
the  organization  of  the  proletariat  which  gives  it  political 
superiority  over  the  atomized  peasantry.  This  organization 
is  the  result  of  the  position  of  the  working  class  in  the 
structure  of  capitalist  society;  to  retreat  into  the  hills  would 
eventually  destroy  the  class  or  the  class  character  of  its 
vanguard. 

There  is  no  better  illustration  of  the  impotence  of 
guerrillaism  in  the  face  of  a  concerted  offensive  by  the 
bourgeoisie  than  the  recent  debacle  in  Argentina.  Even 
though  guerrillaism  (both  urban  and  rural)  is  more 
widespread,  better  financed  and  equipped,  of  longer 
duration  and  of  more  different  varieties  than  anywhere  else 
in  Latin  America,  none  of  the  guerrilla  groups  could  lift  a 
finger  against  the  Videla  coup  or  even  stop  the  notorious 
AAA  death  squads  which  have  assassinated  thousands  of 
leftists  and  workers  leaders  with  impunity  over  the  last 
three  years. 

The  revolutionary  party  must,  of  course,  take  an  active 
role  in  oi-ganizing  the  self-defense  of  the  working  masses, 
and  the  use  of  guerrilla  tactics  is  often  vital  as  a  subordinate 
civil  war  tactic.  However,  the  road  to  power  for  the 
proletariat  is  through  mass  insurrection  against  the 
bourgeois  state;  the  central  military  organization  of  the 
uprising  must  be  an  arm  of  and  directed  by  the  mass 
organization  of  the  working  class,  led  by  the  Leninist 
vanguard  party. 

VI 

In  Latin  America,  Castroist-inspired  guerrillaism  has  led 
a  generation  of  subjectively  revolutionary  militants  from 


one  defeat  to  another,  resulting  in  the  useless  slaughter  of 
many  of  the  most  dedicated  and  courageous  fighters.  In 
numerous  countries,  thousands  of  militants  have  been 
grievously  misled  by  the  Trotskyist  pretensions  of  the 
Pabloists  and  other  revisionists  into  capitulation  before 
non-proletarian  leaderships. 

We  reject  the  claims  of  the  several  international 
groupings  posturing  as  the  Fourth  International  to  be  the 
continuity,  either  organizationally  or  politically,  of  the 
revolutionary  organization  founded  by  Leon  Trotsky  in 
1938.  The  Chilean  experience  has  again  demonstrated  the 
bankruptcy  of  these  pseudo-Trotskyist  impostors.  Those 
who  in  1970-73  were  giving  a  left  cover  to  Allende's 
Popular  Unity,  only  a  year  later  were  creating  illusions  in 
the  Portuguese  Armed  Forces  Movement  and/ or  its  SP 
and  CP  collaborators.  After  playing  a  central  role  in 
creating  the  MIR,  only  to  be  expelled  from  its  creature 
shortly  after,  the  USec  repeated  this  disastrous  course  with 
the  debacle  of  the  guerrillaist  Argentine  PRT/  ERP,  at  the 
same  time  sustaining  the  social-democratic  PST,  which 
politically  supported  the  Peronist  government.  Only  an 
authentically  Trotskyist  International,  firmly  based  on  the 
theory  of  permanent  revolution  and  committed  to 
destroying  the  authority  of  all  the  reformist  and  centrist 
misleaders  of  the  working  class,  can  resolve  the  crisis  of 
proletarian  leadership. 

In  view  of  the  large  number  of  subjectively  revolutionary 
militants  presently  within  the  ranks  of  various  ostensibly 
revolutionary  organizations  and  the  central  importance  of 
politically  destroying  Pabloism  on  a  world  scale,  the 
Revolutionary  Trotskyist  Organization  and  the  interna- 
tional Spartacist  tendency,  in  this  declaration  of  fraternal 
relations,  agree  to  undertake  joint  work  toward  the  rebirth 
of  the  Fourth  International.  We  seek  to  reforge  the  Fourth 
International  by  winning  the  best  cadre  and  militants 
through  a  process  of  revolutionary  regroupment.  On  the 
basis  of  the  above  points  and  agreement  with  the 
Declaration  of  Principles  of  the  Spartacist  League/ U.S., 
subsequently  adopted  by  the  iSt,  the  parties  to  this 
declaration  aim  at  achieving  the  unity  of  the  Revolutionary 
Trotskyist  Organization  of  Chile  with  the  international 
Spartacist  tendency,  and  in  turn  this  will  be  a  great  step 
toward  the  formation  of  the  International  Trotskyist 
League,  worldwide  in  scope. 

17  May  1976 


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8 


British  Troops  Out  of  Northern  ireland 


SPARTACIST 


Workers  Must  Crush  Sectarian 
Terror 


by  David  Strachan 


—reprinted  from  Workers  Vanguard  No.  156, 
6  May  1977 

IVe  prim  below  the  edited  text  of  a  talk  by  Comrade 
Strachan  of  the  London  Spartacist  Group,  delivered  at  a 
Spartacist  l^a^ue  forum  in  New  York  on  March  14. 

Our  topic  tonight  is  "Leninism,  the  National  Question 
and  Ireland."  Why  Ireland?  It's  a  fairly  small  place,  only 
about  four  million  people.  The  death  rate  is  very  low- 
much,  much  lower  than  Lebanon  or  Cyprus  recently.  In 
fact  the  murder  rate  in  Glasgow  presently  is  much  higher 
than  in  Northern  Ireland,  and  I  imagine  it's  much  higher 
still  in  New  York.  So  why  Ireland? 

Well,  first  of  all,  the  fact  that  things  are  very  quiet  there  at 
the  moment  does  not  indicate  relative  social  peace.  There 
are  between  15,000  and  20,000  British  troops  in  Northern 


Ireland.  It  is  a  very  fragile  social  peace  imposed  by  the  brute 
force  of  the  British  army.  And  if  the  British  army  were 
removed  immediately,  the  prospect  would  be  one  of 
massive  bloodshed. 

There  is  a  more  important  reason  which  we've  had  to 
deal  with  in  London,  and  that  is  the  impact  in  Britain.  The 
question  of  Ireland  is  a  crucial  test  of  the  revolutionary 
integrity  of  the  British  left-wing  groups,  and  the  ability  to 
analy/e  Ireland  is  a  touchstone  for  self-proclaimed 
Marxists  everywhere.  Currently  the  question  of  Ireland 
provides  a  crucial  test,  and  I  believe  a  confirmation,  of  the 
unique  position  of  the  international  Spartacist  tendency  in 
upholding  Leninism  on  the  national  question. 

For  internationalist  communists  who  reject  the  simple, 
ultimately  genocidal  logic  of  the  nationalists,  the  complex 
situation  in  Ireland  may  seem  to  be  utterly  intractable. 
Lhcre  have  been  SOO  years  of  English  oppression  in  Ireland 
and  we  have  a  situation  there  todav  which  combines 


British  occupation  forces:  mission  "pacification." 


Donald  McCullln/Magnum 


AUTUMN  1977 


9 


features  which  have  been  classically  associated  with  a 
variety  of  types  of  colonial  and  imperial  oppression.  The 
situation  in  Northern  Ireland  resembles  in  some  ways  the 
classic  colonial  situation,  in  which  a  colonial  administra- 
tion administers,  oppresses  and  exploits  the  native 
population.  But  it  also  resembles  the  situation  where  you 
have  a  colonial  settler  people  who  wipe  out  or  expel  the 
original  native  population.  And.  as  well,  it  resembles  the 
features  which  are  classically  associated  with  the  multi- 
national empires  in  eastern  Europe. 

However,  tonight,  rather  than  giving  a  run-down  of  the 
history  of  Ireland  and  an  up-to-date  account  of  the  current 
events  there,  1  want  to  concentrate  on  the  programmatic 
questions. 

British  Troops  Out! 

Toward  the  middle  of  last  year  the  eminent  British 
historian  A.J.  P.  Taylor  was  interviewed  on  the  BBC.  He 
had  a  number  of  things  to  say  that  considerably  disturbed 
bourgeois  opinion  in  Britain.  He  said  quite  simply  and 
bluntly  that  the  British  should  get  the  hell  out  of  Ireland. 
He  said  that  the  presence  of  the  British  army  fundamentally 
oppresses  the  Catholic  Irish  people  and  that  nothing 
progressive  can  come  through  the  presence  of  the  British 
army.  So  1  want  to  start  by  asserting  that  an  essential  plank 
for  any  revolutionary  analysis  and  program  for  Ireland 
must  be  the  demand  for  the  immediate,  unconditional 
withdrawal  of  the  British  army. 

That  should  be  obvious  to  revolutionists,  but  unfortu- 
nately it  isn't  very  widely  held.  In  the  British  Labour  Party, 
with  all  its  "lefts,"  who  are  forever  willing  to  sign  this  and 
that  petition  and  to  take  up  this  and  that  socialist  cause 
which  is  as  remote  as  possible  from  their  immediate 
interests,  there  is  not  one  MP  [Member  of  Parliament],  no 
matter  how  left  he  claims  to  be,  who  is  clearly  for  the 
immediate,  unconditional  withdrawal  of  the  British  army. 
The  Communist  Party  of  Great  Britain  [CPGB]  has  a 
position  that  the  British  army  should  withdraw  to  the 
barracks.  The  "Official"  wing  of  the  IRA  has  a  position 
that  the  British  army  should  withdraw  from  working-class 
areas;  and  a  number  of  other  organizations,  including  the 
"Provisional"  IRA,  have  a  position  that  the  British  army 
should  set  a  date  for  its  withdrawal. 

Even  among  the  organizations  of  the  far  left,  the 
ostensibly  Trotskyist  organizations,  there  is  a  readiness  to 
abandon  this  essential  plank.  For  example  the  Internation- 
al Marxist  Group  [IMG],  the  fraternal  organization  of  the 
American  Socialist  Workers  Party  [SWP],  which  was 
formerly  on  the  extreme  left  of  the  United  Secretariat,  is 
currently  moving  more  and  more  rightward.  At  the  time  of 
the  Bloody  Sunday  commemoration  marches  last  year  it 
had  a  position  not  for  the  immediate,  unconditional 
withdrawal  but  for  "End  British  Involvement,"  a  nice 
vague  plank.  They  hoped  through  this  to  attract  some 
sympathy  from  the  Communist  Party.  They  didn't,  but 
their  willingness  to  take  up  some  vague  slogan  like  this  in 
order  to  get  a  little  bit  closer  to  the  Communist  Party  is 
indicative  not  only  of  their  opportunism  but  of  their 
inability  to  confront  and  stand  up  against  British 
imperialism. 

It  should  also  be  obvious  that  the  "Troops  Out"  demand 
by  itself  will  riot  solve  the  problem.  The  historian  Taylor 
recognizes  this  to  his  credit.  He  says  that,  of  course,  there 


will  be  some  sort  of  settlement  reached  after  the  troops  get 
out:  but  then  he  was  asked  if  he  thought  there  would  be 
unity  of  the  people  on  the  island.  His  answer  was  that  this  is 
a  matter  of  relative  strength.  He  acknowledges  that  the 
solution  may  be  imposed  by  one  party  or  another.  He 
acknowledges  that  civil  wars  and  bloodshed  can  solve  these 
questions. 

Now  almost  all  the  British  groups  of  the  far  left  present 
the  "Troops  Out"  demand  either  as  having  some  inherently 
revolutionary  connotations  or  else  as  an  application  of  the 
demand  for  self-determination  for  the  Irish  people  as  a 
whole.  The  assumption  that  if  you  just  demand  "Troops 
Out"  everything  will  go  fine  is  tied  to  their  understanding  of 
the  applicability  of  the  demand  for  self-determination  in 
Ireland. 

I  want  to  take  as  an  example  the  International  Marxist 
Group  again.  It  says  in  one,  of  the  IMG  newspapers,  "The 
right  of  Ireland  to  national  freedom  is  merely  the  basic 
democratic  right  of  all  oppressed  peoples  to  determine  their 
own  destiny,  free  from  all  outside  interference  and  control. 
It  means  the  right  to  control  their  own  economy,  decide  on 
their  own  political  system  in  relation  with  other  countries 
and  the  right  to  develop  their  own  national  culture." 

That  is  not  the  Leninist  position  on  self-determination. 
Leninists  are  opposed  to  all  forms  of  national  oppression 
and  to  all  national  privileges.  The  right  of  self- 
determination  means  simply  the  right  to  establish  your  own 
political  state.  It  does  not  say  anything  about  economic 
independence,  dr  about  some  conception  of  Utopian 
freedom  from  outside  interference. 

In  the  general  sense  the  demand  for  self-determination  is 
unconditional.  That  is,  we  do  not  when  we  raise  it  place 
conditions  with  regard  to  the  question  of  the  class  nature  of 
the  state  that  emerges  or  of  the  leadership.  However,  the 
demand  is  not  a  categorical  imperative  to  be  raised 
everywhere  and  at  all  times,  even  for  oppressed  nations.  It 
is  a  subordinate  part  of  the  whole  revolutionary  program. 
It  is  one  of  a  range  of  bourgeois-democratic  demands 
which  must  be  a  part,  but  only  a  part,  of  the  revolutionary 
program. 

So  we  can  recognize  the  right  of  self-determination  for  a 
nation  and  then  argue  against  its  exercise.  For  instance, 
that  is  the  position  of  the  international  Spartacist  tendency 
at  this  time  with  regard  to  Quebec.  The  demand  must  be 
subordinate  to  the  overall  considerations  of  the  class 
struggle. 

No  to  Sectarian  Slaughter! 

I  wanted  to  make  these  points  to  establish  that  the 
demand  for  self-determination  is  not  something  that  must 
always  be  raised.  It  has  to  be  evaluated  in  terms  of  the 
general  considerations  of  the  class  struggle.  And,  in 
particular,  where  the  exercise  of  self-determination  for  one 
people  means  that  they  will,  in  fact,  deny  that  right  to 
another  people,  then  it  ceases  to  be  a  democratic  demand. 
This  arises  with  interpenetrated  peoples,  where  two  peoples 
are  living  intermingled  on  the  same  territory. 

I  want  to  argue  that  this  is  the  case  in  Ireland,  that  if  you 
simply  demand  self-determination  (a  demand  which  does 
not  transcend  the  bounds  of  capitalism),  you  are  condemn- 
ing the  working  masses  to  further  rounds  of  communal 
bloodshed,  massive  population  transfers  and  genocide. 

continued  on  next  page 


10 


SPARTACIST 


Northern  Ireland... 

(continued  from  page  9) 

Those  who  want  to  argue  that  in  Ireland  the  crucial 
demand  is  "self-determination  for  the  Irish  nation"  must 
face  the  implications  of  what  they  are  saying.  That  is,  they 
are  for  the  forcible  reunification  of  the  island  under  a 
bourgeois  regime,  irrespective  of  the  wishes  of  the 
Protestants. 

Many  of  the  British  left-wing  groups  don't  want  to  face 
up  to  this,  so  they  argue  that  there's  some  transcendental 
dynamic  that  will  make  everything  work  out  fine.  Sixty 
percent  of  the  population  of  Northern  Ireland — a  quarter 
of  the  population  of  the  whole  island— will  just  give  up  or 
get  caught  up  in  this  revolutionary  dynamic  and,  as  the 
IMG  claims,  "The  working  class  will  have  the  opportunity 
to  unite  for  socialism  and  peace."  Just  like  that! 

It  ought  to  be  obvious  to  everyone  but  the  most  myopic 
and  the  most  nationalist  that  getting  the  troops  out  will  not 
by  itself  solve  things.  There  are  more  than  100,000 
registered  guns  in  Ulster.  The  vast  majority  of  them  are  in 
the  hands  of  the  Protestants  who  are  well-trained,  well- 
organized  and  quite  determined.  As  the  "Unionist"  slogan 
goes,  "Ulster  will  fight.  Ulster  will  be  right."  And  they  very 
well  might  win,  certainly  against  the  IRA  and  even  against 
the  Irish  regular  army. 

The  reality  of  the  situation  is  that  a  number  of 
possibilities  are  posed  if  the  British  troops  get  out.  There 
can  be  the  consolidation  of  a  Protestant  "Zionist"  state, 
accompanied  by  forcible  population  transfers,  genocide, 
etc.  There  could  be  a  reversal  of  the  terms  of  oppression. 
That  is,  the  Irish  Catholic  state  consolidated  on  the  whole 
island,  with  the  Protestants  becoming  the  new  Palestinians. 
There  could  be  a  situation  like  Cyprus,  a  new  boundary 
change. 

We  should  also  keep  in  mind  what  happened  in  Lebanon, 
where  the  most  "progressive"  Arab  state,  Syria,  the 
supposed  best  friends  of  the  Palestinian  liberation 
movement,  intervened  and  blocked  with  the  Christians  to 
smash  the  Moslem  forces.  No  doubt  it  will  turn  around  and 
smash  the  Christian  forces  as  well.  The  Irish  Catholic  state 
might  act  in  the  very  same  way:  intervene  in  Northern 
Ireland  (with,  of  course,  the  support  of  British  imperial- 
ism), smash  the  radical  Irish  nationalists  and  then  turn  on 
the  Protestants.  After  all,  the  Irish  bourgeoisie  has  already 
fought  a  civil  war  with  the  more  radical  nationalists,  so  why 
shouldn't  that  happen? 

Now  I  don't  want  to  speculate  on  what  is  the  most  likely 
possibility.  All  these  possibilities  pose  the  likelihood  of 
massive  communal  bloodshed.  So  I  want  to  stress  that  the 
"Troops  Out"  demand  must  be  linked  to  a  revolutionary, 
communist  program  that  can  set  the  basis  for  working- 
class  unity. 

Britain  Playing  the  Orange  Card? 

In  association  with  the  call  for  "Troops  Out"  and  the 
false  assumption  that  this  will  lead  to  the  collapse  of 
Protestant  opposition,  there  is  an  argument  that  mainte- 
nance of  the  artificial  Orange  statelet,  the  six  counties  of 
Ulster,  is  absolutely  essential  to  the  interests  of  British 
imperialism  in  Ireland.  So  I  want  to  look  briefly  at  the 
motivations  of  (and  tensions  within)  British  imperialism. 
It's  clear,  at  this  point,  that  the  Northern  Ireland  statelet  is 


not  necessarily  part  of  the  British  strategy  in  Ireland.  They 
have  used  the  Orange  card  in  the  past  but  it's  a  nuisance 
today. 

British  imperialism's  approach  to  Ireland  has  always 
been  much  more  complicated  than  the  simplistic  analyses 
that  are  often  put  forward.  Up  to  1912  the  liberal  wing  of 
the  bourgeoisie  was  aiming  for  a  near-colonial  "independ- 
ent" state.  This  was  stopped  and  opposed  by  a  block  of  the 
Protestants,  the  officer  corps  of  the  British  army  and  the 
landed  aristocracy.  Nowadays  the  border  is  anachronistic 
to  the  general  intentions  of  British  imperialism.  It  gets  in 
the  way  of  business:  the  desire  to  invest  in  the  south  and  the 
fact  that  the  industry  in  the  north  is  decaying,  run  down. 

They  have  a  problem.  If  they  try  to  hand  over  Northern 
Ireland  to  the  southern  Republic  they  are  going  to  run  into 
a  civil  war,  because  the  Irish  Catholic  bourgeoisie  is  not 
strong  enough  to  control  the  situation.  And  given  the 
hostility  of  the  Protestants  there  will  be  one.  So  what 
British  imperialism  is  trying  to  do  is  continue  business  as 
usual,  invest  as  much  as  possible  and  try  and  keep  the  lid  on 
things. 

They  made  a  big  attempt  last  year  at  power-sharing,  to 
get  the  moderate  Catholics  and  the  moderate  Protestants 
together,  that  failed  due  to  opposition  from  the  Protestant 
hard-liners.  So  they  are  now  trying  a  mixture  of  economic 
pressure,  increasing  the  power  of  the  police  forces  and 
agencies  in  Northern  Ireland  (for  instance,  rearming  the 
Royal  Ulster  Constabulary)  and  calculated  use  of  the 
British  army.  The  result  is  that  Ian  Paisley,  the  most 
prominent  mass  leader  of  the  Ulster  Unionists,  currently 
accuses  the  British  government  of  conducting  psychologi- 
cal warfare  against  the  Protestants.  Just  to  give  you  an  idea 
of  the  discrepancy  between  the  interests  of  British 
imperialism  and  the  Ulster  Protestants,  if  you  look  at  the 
figures  of  March  last  year  for  political  prisoners  in 
Northern  I  reland,  there  were  900  Roman  Catholics  and  600 
Protestants.  It  indicates  that  there's  not  exactly  agreement 
between  the  militant  Ulstermen  and  British  imperialism  at 
this  time. 

What  Are  the  Protestants? 

The  key  question  is  what  are  the  Protestants.  There  are  a 
number  of  ways  to  avoid  this  question,  and  you  will  find 
that  they  have  all  been  tried  by  various  left-wing 
organizations.  One  way  is  to  say  that  the  Protestants  are 
just  backward  workers,  and  then  follow  tfiis  up  with  lots  of 
"unite  and  fight"  talk  and  vague  rhetoric  about  how  the 
dynamic  of  the  class  struggle  will  solve  everything.  That  is, 
you  don't  address  the  communal  and  national  divisions  at 
all.  Another  way  is  to  adopt  the  real  position  of  the  extreme 
Irish  nationalists  and  to  say,  in  effect,  they  are  just  agents  of 
British  imperialism,  so  drive  them  into  the  sea.  Or  if  you're 
a  little  bit  shamefaced  about  it  you  say  something  along  the 
lines  of,  "I  can't  tell  the  Irish  people  what  to  do." 

There's  a  variety  of  other  excuses  put  forward  for 
plumping  for  the  Catholic  nationalists,  the  Republicans, 
and  I  would  like  to  run  through  them  briefly.  There's  the 
argument,  for  example,  that  only  oppressed  people  have 
the  right  to  self-determination.  Now  that  is  not  so  at  all. 
For  Marxists  all  nations  have  the  right  to  self- 
determination.  But  the  problem  with  raising  the  demand 
for  self-determination  in  Ireland  is  that  it  doesn't  resolve 
the  Catholic-Protestant  conflict  in  a  democratic  manner. 


AUTUMN  1977 


11 


Obviously,  when  India  was  lighting  to  separate  from 
Britain,  British  self-determination  wasn't  in  question.  In 
that  situation  it  would  be  a  reactionary  slogan,  just  as  it 
would  be  if  the  (iermans  and  the  British  each  argued  that 
they  were  fighting  WWII  on  the  basis  of  their  right  of  self- 
determination. 

But  in  the  case  of  interpenetrated  peoples,  where  one  or 
the  other  is  likely  to  be  immediately  cither  the  oppressed 
nation  or  else  the  privileged  nation  under  imperialism,  it's  a 
lot  more  complicated.  There  arc  two  peoples  here  and 
whatever  way  you  work  it,  if  the  oppressed  gets  its  self- 
determination  under  capitalism,  then  it  will  simply  become 
the  new  oppressor.  There's  no  equitable  solution  within 
that  framework.  And  if  you  want  to  say  that  only  the 
oppressed  people  have  the  right  to  self-determination,  then 
you're  really  saying  that  what  happens  to  the  Protestants 
after  self-determination  in  Ireland  doesn't  matter  at  all, 
because  after  all  right  now  the  Irish  nationalists  are 
progressive  and  the  Protestants  are  reactionary  and  that's 
the  end  of  it.  Too  bad,  Protestants! 

I  here's  another  argument,  to  the  effect  that  L.oyalism 
(which  is  the  common  term  to  describe  the  Protestant 
communalist  ideology)  is  simply  an  imperialist  ideology. 
That  is,  it's  just  really  British  chauvinism  given  a  little 
slightly  different  tinge  in  order  to  attract  a  mass  following 
amongst  a  certain  misled  section  of  the  Irish  workers. 

I  don't  think  any  of  these  arguments  1  just  dealt  with 
deserve  serious  attention  from  Marxists.  But  there  are 
some  other  arguments  which  attempt  to  present  a  more 
sophisticated  Marxoid  type  of  analysis.  The  one  that's 
most  frequently  heard  is  that  the  Protestants  are  a  labor 
aristocracy.  This  theory  is  essentially  the  same  one  as  the 
New  Left  guilt  theories  about  the  American  white  working 
class  being  bought  off  because  of  "white  skin  privilege." 

To  begin  with  it  ignores  the  fact  that,  with  or  without  the 
Catholic  population,  in  Northern  Ireland  you  have  one  of 
the  highest  unemployment  rates  in  Britain,  and  the  fact  that 
housing  for  the  whole  of  the  working-class  population  in 
Northern  Ireland  is  the  worst  in  Britain  and  amongst  the 
worst  in  Europe.  It  also  grievously  distorts  Marxism.  The 
term  "labor  aristocracy"  was  used  by  Lenin  in  a  very  precise 
way,  to  indicate  a  layer  of  the  working  class,  largely  trade- 
union  bureaucrats,  that  had  sold  out.  To  describe  the  whole 
of  the  Protestant  working  class,  including  the  large 
percentage  unemployed,  as  a  labor  aristocracy  is  obviously 
not  just  an  extension  but  a  gross  distortion  of  the  meaning 
of  that  Marxist  term. 

Thirdly,  it  suggests  that  the  Protestants  are  nothing  else 
but  a  stratum  of  one  class,  ignoring  the  fact  that  the 
Protestants  are  a  trans-class  grouping.  With  that  method- 
ology you  would  have  to  look  at  the  tsarist  empire  before 
the  Russian  Revolution  and  argue  that  the  Great  Russians 

 -N 

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and  the  Poles  were  labor  aristocracies.  After  all  they 
enjoyed  relative  privileges  if  you  want  to  put  it  that  way. 
I  hey  were  better  off  they  were  more  advanced  sections  of 
the  society.  You'd  have  to  say  on  those  grounds  that, 
because  the  Poles  were  amongst  the  most  advanced  and 
had  privileges  compared  to  so  many  other  peoples  in  the 
tsarist  Emipire,  they  didn't  have  a  right  to  self- 
determination!  But  of  course,  the  people  who  have  such 
arguments  like  to  avoid  these  little  problems. 

New  Left  Moralism 

In  association  with  these  attempts  to  explain  why  we 
don't  have  to  worry  about  the  fate  of  the  Protestants,  there 
are  two  other  things  i  want  to  look  at.  One  is  the  argument 
that  the  Ulster  state  is  an  artificial  imperialist  creation,  that 
its  borders  were  designed  to  ensure  a  Protestant  majority. 
Now  that's  true,  and  prior  to  the  partition,  revolutionists  in 
Ireland  would  have  fought  for  a  unified  independent 
Ireland  and  to  transcend  the  sectional  differences  that 
existed  at  the  time. 

But  with  the  partition  and  thecommunal  bloodshed  that 
accompanied  it,  with  the  establishment  of  a  bourgeois  Irish 
republic  and  the  state  boundaries,  to  argue  for  unification 
after  that  point  is  to  ignore  what  had  clearly  become 
consolidated  communal  differences.  This  argument  often 
goes  with  the  position  that  not  only  was  it  an  imperialist 
partition  but,  as  well,  the  Protestants  are  a  colonial-settler 
people.  You  know,  they  threw  out  the  native  people,  they 
don't  really  have  a  right  to  be  there.  So,  the  American 
people  don't  have  a  right  to  be  here  now;  you've  all  got  to  go 
home.  The  Australian  people  don't  have  a  right  to  be  there; 
they've  all  got  to  go  home,  too. 

But  if  the  colonial  settlers  have  no  rights,  then  you've  got 
to  argue  that  the  Vietnamese  people  have  no  rights.  Do  you 
know  what  the  Vietnamese  did  in  the  nineteenth  century? 
There're  only  two  villages  left  now  in  Vietnam  of  the 
Champa  kingdom.  The  Vietnamese  were  slaughtering 
them  in  the  nineteenth  century;  they  were  throwing  out  the 
Cambodians.  The  Cambodians'  national  existence  was 
saved  by  the  arrival  of  French  imperialism.  So  why  not  give 
back  most  of  South  Vietnam  to  the  Cambodians,  too?  The 
point  is  that  almost  every  modern  nation  has  been 
consolidated  on  the  basis  of  slaughtering  and  wiping  out 
and  throwing  out  other  communities  and  peoples.  If  you 
want  to  argue  in  these  terms,  it's  simply  a  form  of 
nationalist,  liberal  moralism,  and  leads  straight  into  the 
typical  irredentist  arguments  about  our  "holy"  land  which 
we've  got  to  save  or  get  back. 

Now  while  I'm  on  the  subject  of  the  New  Left  and  New 
Left  moralism,  there's  another  argument,  which  is 
presented  as  anti-economism.  That  is,  the  Protestants  are 
so  bound  up  in  their  reactionary  ideas  that  they  can  never 
be  part  of  a  proletarian  revolutionary  mobilization.  There 
is  a  small  British  group,  called  the  Revolutionary 
Communist  Group  [RCG],  which  puts  forward  this 
argument  and  prides  itself  on  having  a  Marxist  under- 
standing. It  recently  split,  largely  because,  while  it  claimed 
to  have  a  Marxist  understanding,  it  never  had  any 
programmatic  conclusions.  The  RCG  says: 

"It  is  the  height  of  naivete  to  expect  the  two  sections  of  the 
northern  working  class  to  unite  on  economic  issues,  when  it  is 
precisely  these  that  divide  them.  As  the  crisis  begins  to  bite. 

continued  on  next  page 


12 


SPARTACIST 


Northern  Ireland... 

(continued  from  page  II) 

the  Protestant  workers  will  pursue  the  traditional  way  out 
the  expulsion  of  Catholics  from  employment.  Only  later, 
when  the  Unionist  regime  is  visibly  unable  to  preserve  the 
position  of  the  Protestant  workers,  will  the  possibility  exist 
of  breaking  the  Protestant  workers  from  I.oyalism  and 
drawing  them  around  the  programme  which  emphasises 
economic  issues." 

Now  that  ought  to  be  absurd  for  Marxists. 

I  hat's  full  of  back-handed  support  to  Irish  Catholic 
nationalism,  because  what  you're  saying  is  that  the  workers 
can  never  transcend  their  sectional  interests;  they'll  always 
be  narrow  and  selfish  and  they'll  always  want  to  throw  their 
non-communal  class  brothers  out  of  employment.  So 
rather  than  attempting  to  transcend  that  type  of  attitude 
with  a  system  of  transitional  demands,  you  come  up  with  a 
position  which  says:  narrow  trade-union  consciousness 
plus  nationalism  is  revolutionary  consciousness.  And  what 
that  leads  to  inevitably  is  a  two-stage  Stalinist  theory  of 
revolution.  Because  in  order  for  the  workers  to  have 
revolutionary  consciousness,  first  of  all,  as  a  precondition, 
they  must  fight  for  national  liberation. 

Protestant  Communalism  and  the  Union  Jack 

The  Protestants  have  their  origins  as  a  settler 
colonization.  They've  generally  fought  for  the  British 
connection  with  one  important  historic  exception:  the  1 798 
United  Irishmen  uprising,  which  was  led  by  Protestant 
Presbyterians  -in  particular  clergymen  and  merchants— 
and  was  defeated  by  mobilization  of  the  peasantry  by  the 
Catholic  priests  and  the  growth  of  the  Orange  Order 
stimulated  by  the  landed  aristocracy  and  British  interests. 
That  was  effectively  the  opportunity  for  the  establishment 
of  a  united  nation  in  Ireland  and  it  failed.  Since  that  time, 
there  have  been  these  deep  communal  divisions. 

1  want  to  make  the  point  that  Unionism  and  Loyalism — 
i.e.,  Protestant  communalism — should  be  understood  as  a 
means  and  not  an  end.  That  is,  the  Protestants  are  acting  in 
what  they  perceive  as  their  own  interests;  they're  not  just 
agents  of  British  imperialism.  This  can  be  graphically 
shown  by  looking  at  quite  a  number  of  examples.  I  only 
want  to  give  one — Sir  Edward  Carson  who  was  the  first 
prominent  leader  of  the  Protestants  in  this  century.  He  was 
actually  a  representative— to  be  more  precise — of  the  old 
landed  aristocracy,  and  he  differs  significantly  from  later 
people  like  Craigand  Paisley  in  terms  of  his  origins.  But  he, 
as  a  leader  of  the  Protestant  interest  in  Ireland,  was  willing 
to  threaten  British  imperialism  and  to  say  that  he  would 
seek  German  aid.  So  he  saw  the  connection  in  a  way  that 
wasn't  just  acting  on  British  imperialism's  behalf. 

And  you  can  see  a  series  of  other  things  happening, 
which  I've  mentioned  already — the  1912  opposition  to 
British  plans  for  Irish  home  rule,  the  Ulster  Protestant 
workers'  strike  in  1974,  the  number  of  Protestant  political 
prisoners  which  all  indicate  that  Protestant  communal- 
ism in  Northern  Ireland  is  not  identical  with  support  for 
British  imperialism. 

So  the  Protestants  have  a  separate  identity.  It's  defined 
largely  negatively,  as  against  the  Irish  Catholic  nation. 
Religion  plays  an  important  part;  you've  noticed  I've  been 
using  the  term  Irish  Catholic  nation  to  make  the 
distinction.  It's  not  so  much  that  everyone  goes  to  different 


churches,  but  the  religious  question  provides  an  ideological 
form  for  the  dispute  between  the  communities.  And  it's 
deeply  involved  in  the  cultures  and  the  nationalism  of  both 
communities. 

I  .et  me  make  one  tjiing  clear:  the  Protestant  bigotry  (and 
its  religious  qualities)  necessarily  excedes  the  worst 
excesses  of  Green  nationalism,  of  Irish  Catholic  national- 
ism. Take  Rev.  Ian  Paisley  this  is  from  one  of  his 
speeches: 

"Watch  the  Jews.  Israel  is  on  the  way  back  to  favour.  Watch 
the  papist  Rome  rising  to  a  grand  crescendo  with  the 
C  ommunists.  The  Reds  are  on  the  march;  they  are  heading 
lor  an  alliance  against  the  return  of  Lord  Jesus  Christ." 

And  these  are  headings  from  his  paper: 
'The  I.ove  Affairs  of  the  Vatican." 
"Priestly  Murders  Exposed!" 

"Children  lorturcd.  Monks  Turned  Out  as  Sadists!" 
Now  Paisley  is  not  some  sort  of  fringe  crackpot  religious 
fanatic.  He's  a  mass  leader  of  the  Protestants.  He  expresses 
and  is  a  manifestation  of  the  attitudes  amongst  the 
Protestants. 

The  Protestants  have  a  self-image  as  being  hardy  and 
self-reliant  while  the  Catholics  they  see  as  being 
dirty,  indisciplined,  lazy  and  breeding  like  rabbits.  The 
Orange  Order,  which  is  a  sort  of  Masonic  formation 
amongst  the  Protestants,  is  the  epitome  of  the  Ulster 
Protestant  culture.  It  was  created  as  an  instrument  of 
counterrevolution  around  the  time  of  the  United  Irish- 
men's uprising  and  has  been  used  ever  since  as  such.  Its 
rituals,  its  exclusion  of  women,  its  marches  represent  a  way 
of  life  and  a  social  focus  for  the  Protestants. 

No  to  Forced  Reunification! 

At  the  same  time  we  look  at  the  Republic  and  we  find  a 
reactionary,  clericalist  regime.  You  don't  need  to  go  very 
far  to  notice  that.  Take  the  best  of  the  bourgeois  papers  in 
Ireland  and  none  of  them  are  very  good  -the  Irish  Times. 
You  find  that  on  every  single  issue,  no  matter  how 
insignificant,  the  thing  that  is  absolutely  necessary  is  the 
opinion  of  a  priest.  The  Protestants  see  themselves  as 
getting  nothing  from  a  unified  bourgeois  Ireland.  And  they 
make  a  great  deal  about  the  clerical  nature  of  the  state. 

There's  a  whole  series  of  things  that  are  not  very 
attractive  about  the  southern  Irish  bourgeois  state:  the 
prohibition  on  divorce  and  contraception,  the  role  of  the 
Catholic  church  in  education,  its  influence  in  the  higher 
circles  of  government.  Its  influence  is  not  limited  solely  to 
the  most  reactionary  circles,  but  is  found  in  the  more 
plebeian  organizations  as  well.  For  example,  in  1969 
during  the  height  of  the  civil  rights  movement,  when  there 
were  some  layers  of  Protestants  willing  to  support  it  at  that 
time,  the  Northern  Ireland  Civil  Rights  Association 
refused  to  dissociate  itself  from  the  Irish  Republic's 
constitution,  which  contains  provisions  guaranteeing 
rights  to  the  Catholic  church,  and  from  Irish  government 
policies  vis-a-vis  the  church  and  contraception. 

Leaving  aside  the  empirical  facts  of  the  nature  of  the 
Irish  Republic,  apologists  for  unification  argue  that 
presently  and  in  general  the  Protestants  have  been  treated 
better  in  the  South  than  the  Irish  Catholics  in  the  North. 
Now  in  the  quantitative  sense  this  is  certainly  true. 
Presently,  the  Irish  Catholic  state  is  obviously  much  more 
reasonable  and  liberal  than  the  Protestants  in  Northern 
Ireland. 


AUTUMN  1977 


13 


However,  there's  a  more  basic  point  involved  here.  It's 
not  a  matter  of  looking  at  the  present  relative  reaction  of 
each  nationalism,  but  seeing  that  religion  is  a  core 
component  of  the  nationalism  of  both  groups,  and 
understanding  an  elementary  Marxist  principle:  that  all 
nationalism  is  reactionary.  To  suggest  that  the  Irish 
Catholic  bourgeoisie  will  treat  the  Protestants  well  is  to 
argue  that  somehow  this  particular  nationalism  is 
progressive,  because  it's  going  to  be  good  to  people  who  are 
not  of  the  Irish  Catholic  nation.  There're  no  historical 
examples  of  nationalist  regimes  doing  that,  so  why  should 
the  Irish  be  the  exception? 

The  Protestant  communalists  are  not  any  better,  and  in 
the  Northern  state  there  is  systematic  discrimination  in 
housing,  hiring  and  education.  That's  all  well-known.  The 
majority  of  the  sectarian  murders  that  haVe  taken  place  in 
Northern  Ireland  in  the  recent  period  have  been  carribd  out 
by  Protestant  gangs.  Let  me  give  you  one  example  of  the 
bigotry  in  this  situation.  A  gang  kicked  in  the  door  of  a 
house,  lined  up  a  family  and  shot  them— kids  and  parents 
alike.  Before  they  shot  the  woman,  one  of  them  raped  her. 
This  particular  man  was  subsequently  arrested  by  the 
British  army  and  received  a  long  jail  sentence.  When  he 
arrived  in  jail,  he  was  viciously  beaten  up  by  his 
own  comrades  and  almost  killed.  The  reason  he  was  beaten 
up  was  not  that  he'd  shot  the  Catholics,  but  because  he'd 
had  sexual  contact  with  a  Catholic. 

So  there  is  obviously  a  series  of  urgent  democratic 
demands  with  regard  to  the  Catholics  in  the  Northern 
Ireland  statelet.  In  particular  I  want  to  mention  housing 
and  employment,  because  just  by  arguing  that  it  should  be 
more  equitably  shared,  you  say  to  the  Protestant  workers: 
you  should  suffer  some  more.  That's  obviously  not  going  to 
solve  the  problem,  so  even  in  terms  of  immediate  urgent 
democratic  tasks,  these  will  have  to  be  linked  to  demands 
that  have  been  classically  associated  with  the  Trotskyist 
Transitional  Program.  For  example,  for  a  sliding  scale  of 
hours  and  work-sharing  on  full  pay. 

There's  a  problem  of  distinct  communities.  We  recognize 
that  there  are  distinctions,  and  we  don't  want  to  just  ignore 
them  but  seek  to  transcend  them,  and  to  offer  some  way  out 
of  the  vicious  communal  cycle.  The  one  million  Protestants 
can  be  defined  largely  negatively,  as  against  the  Irish 
Catholic  nation,  as  being  not  part  of  the  English  and 
Scottish  nations  any  more,  and  not  in  a  strict  sense  being  a 
nation  either.  But  they  do  have  a  separate  identity,  and  the 
concerns  of  this  community  must  be  taken  into  account. 

The  definite  resolution  of  what  the  Protestants  are 
exactly  is  most  likely  to  occur  at  the  time  that  the  British 
Army  gets  out,  and  will  depend  on  the  circumstances 
accompanying  that.  That  is,  there  could  be  the  consolida- 
tion of  a  real  Protestant  nation,  based  on  a  sectarian, 
communalist  bloodbath  in  the  Irish  Catholic  community; 
or  they  could  be  wiped  out;  or  else  they  could,  in  the 
context  of  a  revolutionary  working-class  mobilization, 
transcend  these  divisions. 

We  want  to  oppose  the  forcible  reunification  of  the 
island  and  reject  the  call  for  the  "self-determination  of  the 
Irish  nation,"  demands  which  give  preference  to  the  claims 
of  one  of  the  interpenetrated  peoples.  We  call  instead  for  an 
Irish  workers  republic  within  a  socialist  federation  of  the 
British  Isles,  which  at  this  point  leaves  open  exactly  where 
the  Protestants  will  fall. 

We  counterpose  the  algebraic  formulation  of  an  Irish 


workers  republic  to  the  common  left-nationalist  slogan 
(e.g.,  of  the  IRA  officials)  of  a  "united  socialist  Ireland." 
We  do  not  insist  that  the  Protestant  majority  in  Northern 
Ireland  must  be  part  of  an  all-Ireland  workers  state. 
Furthermore,  the  slogan  of  a  "united  socialist  Ireland"  has 
become  a  left  cover  for  Green  nationalism  implying  forced 
reunification  under  bourgeois  rule  and  a  two-stage 
revolution — first  unity,  then  socialism. 

For  Anti-Sectarian  Workers  Militias! 

There's  another  important  plank  in  our  program  which  1 
want  to  emphasize,  and  that  is  the  demand  for  an  anti- 
sectarian  workers  militia  to  combat  indiscriminate  terror, 
both  Green  and  Orange.  Now  this  has  to  be  seen  in  its 
proper  context.  There's  a  group  in  Britain  called  the 
Militant  group — a  deeply  opportunist  organization  inside 
the  Labour  Party— which  has  a  call  for  a  trade-union 
militia.  Unfortunately,  our  slogan  is  sometimes  confused 
with  this.  Their  slogan  is  coupled  with  the  demand  for 
withdrawal  of  British  troops,  but  they  say  that  until  there's 
a  trade-union  militia  the  British  Army  should  stay.  And 
they  see  this  trade-union  militia  as  growing  out  of  some  sort 
of  organic  unity  of  the  working  class  based  on  trade-union 
economism. 

If  you  take  a  look  at  the  Armagh  shootings  last  year, 
where  you  had  five  Catholics  shot  in  one  night  and,  1  think, 
two  nights  later  ten  Protestant  workers  shot  up  in  a  mini- 
bus, you  can  see  a  problem.  Suppose  the  Protestant 
workers  had  been  an  atmed  self-defense  group.  What  you 
would  have  had  was  simply  a  sectarian  shoot-out  between 
Catholics  and  Protestants.  So  obviously  in  each  defense 
squad  you  must  have  at  least  one  member  of  both 
communities. 

But  the  question  of  an  anti-sectarian  workers  militia  is 
also  very  much  tied  in  with  the  rest  of  your  program.  It's 
not  just  a  matter  of  disliking  the  killings;  what  about  the 
British  Army,  what  about  indiscriminate  terror?  It  has  to 
be  linked  to  the  revolutionary  mobilization  because 
otherwise  the  trade-union  militias  would  simply  become 
the  armed  adjunct  of  the  peace  movement,  which  doesn't 
have  a  position  on  the  key  question  of  whether  the  British 
Army  should  stay.  Effectively  the  Militant  group's  demand 
ends  up  supporting  the  status  quo— that  is.  the  British 
Army  stays,  and  capitalist  law  and  order  is  maintained. 

There  are  objections  to  the  demand  for  an  anti-sectarian 
workers  militia.  One,  is  that  it's  not  practical.  I'think  the 
comrades  are  probably  all  familiar  with  this  type  of 
reasoning— I  believe  it's  one  of  the  props  of  the  Socialist 
Workers  Party's  position  on  troops  to  Boston,  that  is. 
labor/ black  defense  is  not  practical.  Really  it  is  a  form  of 
reformist  methodology  used  to  justify  capitulating. 

The  other  argument  is  that  it  is  wrong  to  equate  the 
terror  of  the  oppressed  and  the  oppressor.  That's  true,  but 
what  it  leads  these  people  into  doing  is  justifying  any  act  by 
an  oppressed  group.  That  is,  as  long  as  you  say  you  are 
fighting  against  imperialism,  it  doesn't  matter  what  you  do, 
we  give  you  a  blank  check.  That  means  you  have  to  justify 
Grivas  in  Cyprus,  who  was  a  neo-fascist,  not  only  when  he 
fought  British  imperialism,  but  when  he  went  out  and 
slaughtered  Turks.  And  you'd  have  to  defend  the  Stern 
gang,  not  only  its  actions  when  it  fought  British 
imperialism,  but  when  it  slaughtered  Palestinians.  And,  of 
continued  on  next  page 


14 


SPARTACIST 


Northern  Ireland... 

(continued  from  page  13) 

course,  in  Ireland  this  means  taking  the  side  of  the  IRA,  not 
only  when  they  are  fighting  the  British  Army  or  the  Royal 
Ulster  Constabulary,  but  also  when  they  blow  up 
Protestant  pubs. 

The  two  sides  are  obviously  different  in  Northern 
Ireland:  the  Catholic  minority  is  oppressed  and  you  can't 
ignore  this.  It's  also  true  that  the  question  of  Irish  self- 
determination  was  not  fully  resolved  by  the  establishment 
of  the  Irish  republic.  We  defend  the  IRA  against  the  British 
Army,  but  we  need  to  distinguish  between  terrorism 
directed  against  the  imperialist  oppressor  and  what  is 
purely  indiscriminate,  indefensible  terrorism.  We  would 
not  want  to  defend  the  perpetrators  of  such  barbarous  acts. 
An  anti-sectarian  workers  militia  would  be  interested  in 
stopping  pub  bombings  which  just  slaughter  workers,  the 
tube — subway — bombings  and  the  Armagh  shootings. 

It's  obvious  that  the  analysis  of  terrorism  is  crucial  to  the 
ability  of  that  anti-sectarian  workers  militia  to  act  in  a  way 
that  is  supportable  by  Marxists.  So  that  any  anti-sectarian 
workers  militia  is  not  only  going  to  have  to  attract  at  least 
one  member  from  each  community  into  each  such 
formation,  but  it  must  also  have  a  strong  component  of 
cadre  from  the  revolutionary  party. 

Opportunities  for  Class  Unity 

I  touched  several  times  on  the  argument  that  it's  not 
practical  to  mobilise  the  Protestants.  There's  a  difference 
between  on  the  one  hand  recognising  the  complexity  of  the 
situation  and  the  fact  that  mass  consciousness  has  been 
poisoned,  and  on  the  other  hand  a  view  of  profound 
historical  pessimism  which  says  that  the  working  class 
doesn't  have  the  potentiality  as  a  force  for  revolutionary 
change. 

If  you  look  at  the  history  of  Ireland  you  can  see  a  number 
of  contradictory  phenomena.  In  1907  there  was  a  series  of 
strikes  led  by  Jim  Larkin  which  managed  to  keep 
significant  unity  of  Protestant  and  Catholic  workers.  In 
1919  there  was  a  Belfast  engineers'  (metal  workers)  strike. 
The  bourgeoisie  managed  to  smash  it,  and  in  the  sequel 
12,000  Roman  Catholics  lost  their  jobs.  But  that  wasn't  all 
that  happened:  3,000  Protestant  socialists  and  militants 
lost  their  jobs,  too.  In  1933  there  was  massive  unemploy- 
ment, and  for  a  brief  period  you  had  joint  mass 
unemployed  marches  in  which  it  is  reported  the  Green  and 
Orange  flags  flew  together.  This  fleeting  unity  was 
preceded  by  massive  sectarian  violence  and  followed  by 
massive  sectarian  upsurge,  which  destroyed  the  unity. 

Things  are  not  going  to  get  better  automatically.  We 
made  the  point  in  Workers  Vanguard  that  in  Cyprus  there 
was  one  period  of  48  hours— at  the  time  of  the  attempted 
reactionary  coup  inspired  by  the  Greek  colonels' junta — 
when  the  question  of  nationalism  was  flatly  counterposed 
to  democratic  issues,  and  there  was  a  potentiality  of  uniting 
the  Turkish  and  Cypriot  workers.  It  was  only  one  short 
period  where  the  class  struggle  asserted  itself  and 
subordinated  these  massive  communal  tensions,  but  it  was 
an  opportunity. 

The  same  is  true  in  Ireland.  In  the  absence  of  a 
revolutionary  party  we  might  get  some  transitory  unity  on 
pacifist  or  reformist  grounds.  The  sequel  to  the  Armagh 


shootings  is  that  there  were  joint  marches  of  Protestant  and 
Catholic  workers,  but  they  were  marching  on  a  quite 
unsupportable  plank:  they  were  demanding  strengthening 
of  the  Royal  Ulster  Constabulary,  which  we  want  to  see 
smashed! 

In  the  absence  of  a  revolutionary  party  the  prospects  are 
bleak.  But  an  organization  which  for  many  years  may 
remain  isolated,  generally  hated  and  impotent  can  seize 
such  opportunities  in  the  class  struggle  as  I've  outlined. 
That  means  defending  a  Leninist  perspective.  It  means 
refusal  to  capitulate  to  British  chauvinism,  to  Orange 
loyalism  and  to  Irish  nationalism.  If  we  have  that,  then  we 
can  expect  that  when  the  opportunities  do  come,  when  the 
class  struggle  reasserts  itself  in  some  form,  such  upsurges 
will  not  be  immediately  droN^ned  in  communal  bloodshed. 
Nor  will  the  workers  have  a  transitory  unity  on  the  basis  of 
waving  Green  and  Orange  flags  together— there  will  be  an 
opportunity  for  revolutionary  cadre  to  see  that  the  flags 
they're  waving  are  red  flags.  Such  opportunities  are  a  part 
of  the  mobilisation  towards  the  only  progressive  solution 
for  the  bloody  sectarian/communalist  conflict  in  Northern 
Ireland — proletarian  revolution! 

Supplemental  Ftemarks  by 
Reuben  Samuels 

I  just  gave  a  forum  on  colonial-settler  states  and  the 
permanent  revolution,  which  I  would  like  to  relate 
to  the  Irish  question.  An  interesting  point  about  the 
colonial-settler  question  in  South  Africa  is  that  the  "great 
treks"  of  the  Boers  and,  just  a  little  later,  by  the  Zulus  in  the 
eighteenth  and  nineteenth  centuries  wiped  out  a  great  many 
peoples  whose  economic  livelihood  was  at  a  lower  level  of 
development  than  either  the  Zulus  or  the  Boers,  such  as  the 
Hottentots  and  Bushmen  who  were  almost  exterminated. 

In  fact,  this  has  been  the  entire  course  of  human  progress 
over  the  last  ten  thousand  years.  The  history  of  class  society 
has  been  one  of  the  subjugation  or  extermination  of  less 
advanced  peoples  by  a  more  advanced  people — those 
people  who  had  the  bigger  hatchet,  the  longer  ax,  the  ones 
who  developed  gunpowder  and  so  on.  As  Engels  said, 
human  progress  is  indeed  a  cruel  chariot  that  rides  over 
mountains  of  corpses. 

There  are  a  lot  of  petty-bourgeois  vicarious  nationalists, 
very  often  at  a  great  distance  from  the  struggle  they  claim  to 
support,  who  have  picked  up  the  ideology  of  the  "wretched 
of  the  earth"  from  Bakunin  to  Fanon,  and  who  would  like 
to  reverse  the  chariot  of  human  progress.  They  dream  that 
the  less  advanced  societies  will  rise  up  against  the  more 
advanced  societies  and  create  another  mountain  of  corpses, 
but  at  least  the  chariot  will  go  downhill  this  time.  j 

Their  politics  are  basically  moralism,  so  for  them  what 
makes  the  Protestants  an  oppressor  people— or  for  that 
matter  the  Israeli  Hebrews,  or  the  South  African  whites — is 
their  higher  standard  of  living.  In  the  case  of  the  Protestant 
workers  in  Northern  Ireland,  this  is  not  much  greater  than 
that  of  the  Irish  Catholics,  and  it's  significantly  less  than  the 
standard  of  living  of  anyone  in  this  room. 

Let  me  point  out  that  the  average  standard  of  living  in 
Northern  Ireland  is  25  percent  below  the  standard  of  living 
for  ^11  of  Great  Britain,  and  I  assure  you  that  this  is  a  very 
low  standard  indeed  for  northern  Europe.  Furthermore,  if 


/ 


AUTUMN  1977 


15 


you  compare  Protestant  to  Catholic  on  the  basis  of  income 
differentials  (which  tends  to  exaggerate  the  difference),  the 
Protestants  have  a  differential  of  about  1 5  percent  over  the 
Catholics.  Of  course,  there  are  percentagewise  more  poor 
Catholics  in  Northern  Ireland,  but  in  absolute  numbers 
there  are  more  poor  Protestants  than  poor  Catholics. 

There  is  a  book  by  Geoffrey  Bell,  published  by  the 
International  Socialists  in  Great  Britain,  which  claims  that 
the  Protestants  are  a  labor  aristocracy.  He  uses  the 
following  reasoning:  if  you  look  at  the  labor  aristocracy, 
it's  predominantly  Protestant;  therefore  all  Protestant 
workers  constitute  a  labor  aristocracy,  or  are  part  of  the 
labor  aristocracy.  If  you  look  at  the  labor  aristocracy  in  the 
United  States,  by  comparison,  it's  predominantly  white; 
therefore  supposedly  all  white  workers  are  part  of  a  labor 
aristocracy,  as  the  New  Leftist  Noel  Ignatin  told  us  some 
years  ago.  This  kind  of  logic,  which  I  call  Geoffrey  Bell 
logic,  has  superseded  both  Aristotelian  and  Hegelian  logic. 
It  runs  as  follows:  most  or  all  donkeys  are  animals, 
therefore  all  animals  are  donkeys. 

These  are  the  arguments  of  people  who  have  despaired  of 
a  proletarian  solution,  that  is,  a  solution  other  than  the 
mounds  upon  mounds  of  corpses  that  the  chariot  of  history 
has  gone  up  or  come  down  in  the  past.  This  solution,  which 
has  only  been  opened  up  in  the  nineteenth  and  twentieth 
centuries,  is  counterposed  to  the  way  in  which  the  national 
question  has  been  resolved  historically,  namely  through 
genocide,  forced  population  transfers  and  subjugation  of 
the  oppressed  peoples. 

And  if  you  don't  think  the  terms  of  oppression  can  be 
reversed,  just  look  at  Cyprus.  Two  thousand  years  ago 
Cyprus  was  colonized  by  the  Greeks;  five  hundred  years 
ago  it  was  colonized  by  the  Turks,  who  became  an 
oppressor  people  under  the  Ottoman  Empire.  The  British 
imperialists  cultivated  both  peoples  at  one  time  or  another. 
So  who  were  the  oppressor  people  after  the  British  left?  The 
Greeks.  And  who  are  the  oppressor  people  in  Cyprus 


today?  The  Turks.  The  terms  of  oppression  can  definitely 
be  reversed. 

This  is  not  the  Leninist  solution  to  the  national  question. 
This  is  the  Bakuninist/ Fanonist  solution:  to  reverse  the 
terms  of  oppression,  to  call  for  a  unified,  necessarily 
Catholic-dominated  Ireland  without  a  proletarian 
revolution. 

The  1973  Ulster  general  strike,  a  14-day  general  strike 
that  totally  shut  down  Northern  Ireland,  demonstrated 
that  the  social  power  and  the  social  weight  of  the 
proletariat  is  there,  even  if  in  this  particular  case  it  was  used 
for  reactionary  ends.  It  was  also  an  entirely  anti-British 
strike.  The  British  had  set  up  the  Council  of  Ireland,  which 
was  a  scheme  for  a  peaceful,  if  forcible  (through  economic 
pressure)  reunifying  of  Ireland  and  dumping  Northern 
Ireland,  which  has  become  a  liability  for  British 
imperialism. 

The  strike  was  entirely  reactionary,  but  that  was  a 
demonstration  of  real  social  power,  social  power  that  can 
be  welded  to  the  chariot  of  human  progress,  which  in  this 
epoch  can  only  be  drawn  by  the  proletariat  as  an 
international  class.  And  those  people  who  have  posed  the 
proletarian  solution  as  opposed  to  the  nationalist  solution 
have  gotten  a  hearing  in  spite  of  the  communal  hatreds.  We 
stand  in  their  tradition,  in  the  tradition  of  Jim  Larkin  and 
the  Palestinan  Trotskyists. 

Supplemental  Remarks  by 
James  Robertson 

Life  is  complicated,  comrades.  In  the  past  generation,  in 
the  attempt  to  defend  the  jUst  struggles  of 
oppressed  peoples,  there's  been  a  tendency  to  lose  the 
context  in  which,  for  proletarian  revolutionary  Marxists, 
that  struggle  must  be  undertaken.  What  we  are  seeking  to 
do  is  to  defend  the  core  of  revolutionary  Marxism,  the 
continued  on  next  page 


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16 


SPARTACIST 


Victim  of  attacit  by  British  troops. 


G.  Peress/Magnum 


Theses  on 
Ireland 

The  theses  on  Ireland  printed  on  the  facing  page  were 
adopted  by  the  International  Executive  Committee  of 
the  iSt  on  5  August  1977.  They  are  a  product  of  the 
political  work  which  the  iSt  has  devoted  to  dealing 
with  the  complexities  of  the  national  question  in  cases 
involving  geographically  interpenetrated  peoples.  As 
such,  the  theses  codify  the  significant  extensions  and 
refinements  which  the  iSt  has  made  in  its  programmat- 
ic approach  to  the  Irish  question  over  the  last  several 
years. 

These  theses  were  initiated  on  the  basis  of  discus- 
sions on  the  Irish  question  within  the  London  Sparta- 
cist  Group  during  the  fall  of  1976.  Reprinted  as  a 
supplementary  contribution  on  the  Irish  question  is 
the  presentation,  "Workers  Must  Crush  Sectarian 
Terror!",  which  first  appeared  in  Workers  Vanguard 
No.  156,  6  Mav  1977. 


Northern  Ireland... 

(continued  from  page  15) 

proletarian  solution,  against  those  who  would  simply 
embrace  the  "good"  nation  against  the  "bad"  nation. 

I  believe  that  there's  very  little  that  can  be  added  to 
Comrade  David's  talk  in  the  particular  framework  of 
Ireland.  I'd  like  to  underline  one  thing:  he  spoke -of  the 
metal  workers'  strike  in  1919.  in  which  12,000  Catholics 
and  3.000  socialist,  class-struggle-oriented  Protestants 
were  fired,  driven  out  of  the  industry.  Ireland  is  a  very  small 
country,  so  that  is  probably  more  than  half  oi  the  metal 
workers.  Driven  out! 

What  then  do  you  have?  We  thought  we  had  a  bad  purge 
in  the  late  1940's  in  the  United  States  where  10,000 
communistic  elements  were  driven  out.  But  that's  1/  lOOth 
of  one  percent,  not  over  50  percent.  So  those  who  think  that 
the  Irish  are  simply  locked  into  endless  sectarian  killing 
should  examine  the  historical  record.  The  metal  workers 
could  have  been  and  were  trying  to  be  the  leadership  of  the 
proletariat  on  the  island,  but  over  50  percent  of  them  were 
socially  annihilated.  That's  a  defeat  in  a  struggle,  not  the 
organic  chauvinism  of  the  priest-ridden  and  the  arrogant! 

That's  where  the  function  of  the  revolutionary  party 
comes  in.  Every  generation  there  recurs  the  opportunity 
and  the  loopholes  where  an  international  Leninist 
formation  that  is  alert  can  intervene.  You  must  not  take 
what  is  at  present  as  the  inevitable  product  of  history  which 
cannot  be  changed,  ever.  It's  necessary  to  fight,  not  to  be 
passive. 

And  in  the  case  of  Ireland,  it's  particularly  easy.  On  the 
island  of  Cyprus,  a  Greek  is  a  Greek  and  a  Turk  is  a  Turk. 
How  many  of  you  have  had  the  same  experience  that  I  have 
had.  of  working  with  young  militants,  either  Ulstermen  or 


from  the  Republic  of  Ireland?  As  soon  as  they're  broken 
from  the  nationalist  ideologies,  and  you  encounter  them 
and  work  with  them  as  comrades  outside  that  poor  island, 
they  are  simply  components  of  the  English-speaking 
nation.  That's  the  truth.  It  is  only  when  locked  into  this 
poverty  and  oppression  that  they're  thrown  at  each  others' 
throats.  They  may  become  separate  nations,  in  the  defeat  of 
the  proletarian  goal.  But  not  yet  

Last  point:  when  1  talked  here  last  time,  some  young 
woman,  who  I'm  sure  was  entirely  well-meaning,  said, 
"Does  any  people  who  oppresses  others  have  a  right  to 
exist?"  That's  the  only  thing  that  1  took  away  from  the 
discussion  that  I'd  been  brooding  about.  And  then  I 
thought,  if  one  wants  to  be  idiosyncratic  and  make  trouble, 
what's  the  most  chauvinist  people  on  earth,  who  absolutely 
have  the  right  to  exist?  I  think  it's  probably  the  Chinese.  In 
2,000  years  they  developed  no  other  term  for  foreigners 
except,  "the  barbarians."  Do  you  understand  the  concep- 
tion behind  that?  But  they  have  the  right  to  exist.  They  were 
just  a  very  powerful  people,  used  to  suppressing  those  on 
their  borders  and  never  running  into  anybody  from  a 
culturally  higher  standpoint,  even  if  they  were  occasionally 
conquered  by  "barbarians."  It's  the  nature  of  the  world  in 
the  framework  of  a  class-divided  society. 

I  have  two  observations  to  end  with.  For  many 
minorities  that  are  powerful— the  young  woman  put  it  the 
wrong  way  around— it  is  seen  as  necessary  to  oppress  in 
order  to  exist.  That's  one  of  the  lessons  of  life  that  we  have 
to  shatter,  but  it  does  give  some  insight  into  the  question. 
Finally,  what  should  be  very  obvious,  something  that 
precedes  Marxism  but  was  encompassed  within  it:  we  do 
not  believe  that  any  baby  born  into  an  ethnic,  religious  or 
national  group  thereby  deserves  or  merits  a  death  sentence. 
That's  the  answer  to  that  young  woman.  ■ 


AUTUMN  1977 


17 


1.  The  current  situation  and  social  configuration  in 
Ireland  is  the  result  of  centuries  of  brutal  British  imperialist 
domination.  It  contains  features  characteristically  asso- 
ciated with  the  former  multi-national  states  of  Eastern 
Europe,  as  well  as  with  both  the  colonial  settler  states 
which  established  their  own  political  economy  by  exclud- 
ing or  destroying  native  populations,  and  colonies  in  which 
the  native  population  is  exploited  and  oppressed  by  a 
relatively  thin  colonial  hierarchy. 

In  the  absence  of  any  significant  section  of  the  Irish 
working  class  historically  freed  from  national/communal 
insecurity,  the  result  is  a  seemingly  intractable  situation  in 
which  prospects  for  the  development  of  a  genuine  class- 
struggle  axis  and  for  an  end  to  the  interminable  cycle  of 
imperialist  exploitation/repression  and  inter-communal 
violence  appear  remote.  The  strong  possibility  remains  that 
a  just,  democratic,  socialist  solution  to  the  situation  in 
Ireland  will  only  come  under  the  impact  of  proletarian 
revolution  elsewhere  and  concretely  may  be  carried  on  the 
bayonets  of  a  Red  Army  against  opposition  of  a  significant 
section  of  either  or  both  of  the  island's  communities. 

Nevertheless,  no  matter  to  what  extent  a  bleak 
immediate  prognosis  is  justified,  the  conflict  in  Ireland 
presents  a  crucial  test  of  the  capacity  of  a  revolutionary 
internationalist  tendency  to  provide  a  clear  analysis  and 
program  and  to  confront  the  national  question  in  the 
imperialist  epoch.  For  revolutionists,  who  refuse  to  deal  in 
the  simplicities  (ultimately  genocidal)  of  the  nationalists, 
the  situation  in  Ireland  can  appear  to  be  exceedingly 
complex  and  intractable.  The  "Irish  question"  provides  a 
strong  confirmation  of  the  unique  revolutionary  potency 
and  relevance  of  the  international  Spartacist  tendency's 
understanding  of  Leninism,  particularly  in  relation  to 
geographically  interpenetrated  peoples. 

2.  An  essential  element  of  our  program  is  the  demand 
for  the  immediate,  unconditional  withdrawal  of  the  British 
army.  British  imperialism  has  brought  centuries  of 
exploitation,  oppression  and  bloodshed  to  the  island.  No 
good,  can  come  of  the  British  presence;  the  existing  tie 
between  Northern  Ireland  and  the  British  state  can  only  be 
oppressive  to  the  Irish  Catholic  population,  an  obstacle  to 
a  proletarian  class  mobilisation  and  solution.  We  place  no 
preconditions  on  this  demand  for  the  immediate  with- 
drawal of  all  British  military  forces  or  lessen  its  categorical 
quality  by  suggesting  "steps"  toward  its  fulfillment  (such  as 
simply  demanding  that  the  army  should  withdraw  to  its 
barracks  or  from  working-class  districts). 

At  the  same  time  we  do  not  regard  the  demand  as 
synonymous  with  or  as  a  concrete  application  of  either  the 
call  for  Irish  self-determination  (that  is,  a  unitary  state  of 
the  whole  island)  or  for  an  independent  Ulster — two 
solutions  which  within  the  framework  of  capitalism  would 
be  anti-democratic,  in  the  first  case  toward  the  Protestants 
and  in  the  second  toward  the  Irish  Catholics.  Nor  is  the 
demand  for  the  withdrawal  of  British  troops  sufficient  in 
itself,  as  though  it  has  some  automatic,  inherent  revolu- 
tionary content  or  outcome.  As  the  eminent  British 
bourgeois  historian  A.J.  P.  Taylor  observed  in  an 
interview: 

"1  don't  know  what  the  term  bloodbath  means,  if  it  means 
people  will  be  killed,  they  are  being  killed  all  the  time.  The 
alternative  is  not  between  an  entirely  peaceful  Northern 
Ireland  in  which  nobody's  being  killed  and  a  Northern 
Ireland  in  which  a  lot  of  people  will  be  killed.  If  the  British 


withdraw  some  sort  of  settlement  would  be  arrived  at.  You 
can't  tell  what  it  is  because  the  forces  in  play  can't  be  judged 
until  they  can  operate  

". .  .the  presence  of  the  British  Army  in  Ireland  prolongs  the 

period  of  conflict  and  uncertainty  

"This  [possibility  of  a  united  Ireland]  is  a  matter  of  relative 
strength.  Owing  to  the  history  of  the  last  thirty  years  or 
perhaps  longer,  owing  to  history  since  1885,  when  Randolph 
Churchill —Winston's  father  -first  raised  the  cry  of 'Ulster 
will  fight  and  Ulster  will  be  right'  in  the  past  ninety  years 
the  Protestants  of  Northern  Ireland  have  been  taught  to 
think  of  themselves  as  a  separate  body,  almost  separate 
nationality  within  Ireland,  and  have  established  now  a  long- 
term  domination  of  Northern  Ireland,  partly  because  of  their 
superior  economic  strength,  partly  because  of  the  backing 
they  have  received  from  the  British  Government,  and  partly 
because  they  are,  or  up  to  now  have  been,  the  more 
determined.  For  them,  Protestant  domination  is  the  answer 
to  the  situation  in  Northern  Ireland." 
—  Troops  Out.  No.  2 

As  historically  demonstrated  by  examples  such  as  India, 
Libya,  Cyprus  and  Palestine,  the  withdrawal  of  British 
imperialism,  while  a  necessary  objective  of  the  communist 
vanguard,  in  itselfdoes  not  automatically  ensure  an  advance 
in  a  revolutionary  direction.  Thus,  the  demand  for  the 
immediate  withdrawal  of  the  British  army  from  Northern 
Ireland  must  be  linked  to  and  constitute  a  part  of  a  whole 
revolutionary  program. 

3.  As  Leninists  we  are  opposed  to  all  forms  of  national 
oppression  and  privilege  and  stand  for  the  equality  of 
nations.  Writing  in  1 9 1 3  Lenin  succinctly  set  forth  as  follows 
the  fundamental  pririciples  underlying  the  revolutionary 
social-democratic  position  on  the  national  question: 

"As  democrats,  we  are  irreconcilably  hostile  to  any,  however 
slight,  oppression  of  any  nationality  and  to  any  privileges  for 
any  nationality.  As  democrats,  we  demand  the  right  of 
nations  to  self-determination  in  the  political  sense  of  that 
term... i.e.,  the  right  to  secede.  We  demand  unconditional 
protection  of  the  rights  of  every  national  minority.  We 
demand  broad  self-government  and  autonomy  for  regions, 
which  must  be  demarcated,  among  other  terms  of  reference, 
in  respect  of  nationality  too." 

—"Draft  Programme  of  the  4th  Congress  of  Social 
Democrats  of  the  Latvian  Area."  Collected  Works. 
Vol.  19 

Thus,  the  right  to  self-determination  means  simply  the 
right  to  establish  a  separate  state,  the  right  to  secede.  We 
reject  the  notion  that  it  means  "freedom  from  all  outside 
interference  and  control"  or  entails  economic  independ- 
ence. In  the  general  sense  the  right  to  self-determination  is 
unconditional,  independent  of  the  state  that  emerges  or  its 
leadership. 

However,  for  Leninists  this  right  is  not  an  absolute 
demand,  a  categorical  imperative,  to  be  implemented  at  all 
times  and  everywhere  there  is  a  nation.  It  is  only  one  of  a 
range  of  bourgeois-democratic  demands;  it  is  a  part, 
subordinate  to  the  whole,  of  the  overall  programmatic 
system.  When  the  particular  demand  for  national  self- 
determination  contradicts  more  crucial  demands  or  the 
general  needs  of  the  class  struggle,  we  oppo.se  its  exercise. 
As  Lenin  notes: 

"The  several  demands  of  democracy,  including  self- 
determination,  are  not  an  absolute,  but  only  a  small  part  of 
the  general-democratic  (now:  general-socialist)  u  orW  move- 
ment. In  individual  concrete  cases,  the  part  may  contradict 
the  whole;  if  so,  it  must  be  rejected."  [emphasis  in  original] 
— "The  Discussion  on  Self-Determination  Summed 
Up."  Collected  Works.  Vol.  22 

continued  on  next  page 


18 


SPARTACIST 


Theses  on  Ireland... 

(continued  from  page  17) 

In  particular,  in  the  case  of  interpenetrated  peoples 
sharing  a  common  territory,  we  oppose  the  exercise  of  self- 
determination  by  one  nation  where  this  flatly  conflicts  with 
the  same  right  for  another  nation.  In  this  situation  the  same 
general  considerations  apply,  namely  our  opposition  to  all 
forms  of  national  oppression  and  privilege,  but  in  such 
circumstances  the  exercise  of  self-determination  by  one  or 
the  other  people  in  the  form  of  the  establishment  of  their 
own  bourgeois  state  can  only  be  brought  about  by  the 
denial  of  that  right  to  the  other.  Under  capitalism  this 
would  simply  be  a  formula  for  reversing  the  terms  of 
oppression,  for  forcible  population  transfers  and  expul- 
sions and  ultimately  genocide.  It  is  a  "solution"  repeatedly 
demonstrated  in  history,  for  example  in  the  cases  of  India/ 
Pakistan,  Israel/ Palestine  and  Cyprus. 

In  general,  our  support  for  the  right  to  self- 
determination  is  negative:  intransigent  opposition  to  every 
manifestation  of  national  oppression  as  a  means  toward 
the  unity  of  the  working  class,  not  as  the  fulfillment  of  the 
"manifest  destiny"  or  "heritage"  of  a  nation,  nor  as  support 
for  "progressive"  nations  or  nationalism.  We  support  the 
right  of  self-determination  and  national  liberation 
struggles  in  order  to  remove  the  national  question  from  the 
historic  agenda,  not  to  create  another  such  question. 
Within  the  framework  of  capitalism  there  can  be  no  purely 
democratic   solution  (for  example  through  universal 


suffrage)  to  the  national  question  in  cases  of  interpenetrat- 
ed peoples. 

The  same  general  considerations  apply  not  only  to  "fully 
formed"  nations,  but  also  to  nationalities  and  peoples  which 
may  still  be  something  less  than  fully  consolidated  nations, 
for  example  the  Eritreans  in  their  struggle  against  Amharic 
domination  or  the  Biafrans  at  the  time  of  the  Nigerian  civil 
war.  Indeed,  not  infrequently  the  historical  formation  of 
nations  is  tested  and  completed  in  the  process  of  struggles  for 
self-determination.  Our  opposition  to  the  exercise  of  self- 
determination  by  an  interpenetrated  people  would  also 
apply  where  one  or  more  of  the  groupings,  though  not  a 
historically  compacted  nation,  has  sufficient  relative  size 
iind  cultural  level  that  the  exercise  of  self-determination 
could  only  mean  a  new  form  or  reversal  of  the  terms  of 
oppression. 

4.  Concretely,  in  Ireland  the  question  of  Irish  national 
self-determination  was  not  fully  resolved  by  the  establish- 
ment of  the  Republic  of  Eire.  But  to  demand  "Irish  self- 
determination"  today  represents  a  denial  of  the  Leninist 
position  on  the  national  question.  It  is  incumbent  on 
revolutionists  to  face  up  to  exactly  what  the  call  for  "self- 
determination  of  the  Irish  people  as  a  whole"  means. 

Obviously  the  call  is  not  one  for  the  simultaneous  self- 
determination  of  both  communities,  an  impossibility  fbr 
interpenetrated  peoples  under  capitalism.  In  another  sense 
the  demand  is  about  as  meaningful  as  calling  for  "self- 
determination  for  the  Lebanese  people  as  a  whole"  in  the 
middle  of  last  year's  communal  bloodletting.  In  the  case  of 


British  troops  round  up  "suspected  IRA  members"  in  Northern  Ireland. 


Gamma 


AUTUMN  1977 


19 


Ireland  such  a  demand  utterly  fails  to  come  to  terms  with 
the  question  of  the  Protestant  community  of  Ulster, 
comprising  60  percent  of  the  statelet's  and  25  percent  of  the 
whole  island's  population.  Such  a  demand  is  a  call  for  the 
formation  of  a  unitary  state  of  the  whole  island,  including 
the  forcible  unification  of  the  whole  island  by  the  Irish 
bourgeois  state  irrespective  of  the  wishes  of  the  Protestant 
community.  It  is  a  call  for  the  Irish  Catholics  to  self- 
determine  at  the  expense  of  the  Protestants.  It  is  a  call  for 
the  simple  reversal  of  the  terms  of  oppression,  an  implicit 
call  for  inter-communal  slaughter,  forced  population 
transfers  and  ultimately  genocide  as  the  way  forward  to  the 
Irish  revolution. 

5.  The  present  six-county  enclave  in  Northern  Ireland  is 
a  "sectarian.  Orange  statelet,"  the  product  of  an  imperialist 
partition.  Prior  to  the  partition  revolutionaries  would  have 
opposed  partition,  striving  to  cement  revolutionary  unity 
in  the  struggle  for  independence  from  British  imperialism. 
However,  with  the  partition,  the  accompanying  communal 
violence  and  demographic  shifts,  and  the  establishment  of 
a  bourgeois  republic  in  the  south  it  was  necessary 
to  oppose  the  forcible  reunification  of  the  six  counties  with 
the  rest  of  Ireland.  At  the  same  time  the  present  statelet 
guarantees  the  political  and  economic  privileges  of  the 
Protestants.  We  oppose  the  Orange  state  and  the  demand 
for  an  independent  Ulster  as  forms  of  determination  for  the 
Protestants  which  necessarily  maintain  the  oppression  of 
the  Irish  Catholic  population  of  Ulster,  an  extension  of  the 
Irish  Catholic  nation.  Since  they  are  the  local  bodies  of  the 
British  repressive  state  apparatus  and  the  training  ground 
for  the  present  Protestant  paramilitary  groups  and  a  future 
reactionary  Protestant  army,  we  demand:  Smash  the  Royal 
Ulster  Constabulary  (RUC)  and  the  Ulster  Defence 
Regiment  (UDR). 

6.  There  is  a  series  of  urgent  democratic  demands  that 
apply  to  the  situation  of  the  oppressed  Irish  Catholics  in 
Northern  Ireland.  We  demand  full  democratic  rights  for 
the  Catholic  minority  and  an  end  to  discrimination  in 
housing  and  hiring.  But  such  demands  must  be  linked  to 
class  demands  which  transcend  the  bounds  of  bourgeois 
democracy.  Without  the  demand  for  a  sliding  scale  of 
wages  and  hours,  for  example,  the  call  to  end  discrimina- 
tion will  simply  imply  leveling  in  an  already  economically 
depressed  situation.  The  relevant  partial,  negative,  demo- 
cratic and  economic  demands  must  be  integrated  into  the 
revolutionary  transitional  program  which  transcends  the 
capitalist  framework  of  economism  and  democratic 
reformism. 

7.  Historically  the  Protestants  of  Ulster  were  an 
extension  of  the  Scottish  and  English  nations.  The  1798 
United  Irishman  uprising  was  led  by  the  Protestant  middle 
class  and  reflected  the  impact  of  the  French  and  American 
bourgeois  revolutions  on  the  nascent  capitalist  class 
(overwhelmingly  Protestant)  in  Ireland.  This  insurrection 
against  British  imperialism,  which  was  defeated  in  part  by 
the  development  of  the  reactionary  sectarian  Orange  Order 
and  the  mobilisation  of  the  peasantry  by  Catholic  priests, 
was  the  opportunity  for  the  establishment  of  a  modern 
nation  of  the  whole  island.  Since  that  time,  though  the  most 
modern  capitalist  sectors  remained  Protestant  for  a  long 
period,  the  Protestants  have  acted  for  the  most  part  as  loyal 
and  fervent  defenders  of  the  union  with  British  imperial- 
ism. The  bigotry  and  discrimination  among  the  Protestants 


toward  the  Irish  Catholic  nation  necessarily  exceeds  the 
worst  excesses  of  Irish  Green  nationalism,  and  most  of  the 
sectarian  murders  in  the  current  period  have  been  carried 
out  by  Protestant  paramilitary  groups. 

Though  not  yet  a  nation,  the  Protestants  are  certainly 
not  a  part  of  the  Irish  nation  and  are  distinct  from  the 
Scottish  and  English  nations.  Presently  their  separate 
existence  is  defined  in  large  part  as  against  the  Irish 
Catholic  nation  and  at  the  ideological  level  is  expressed  in 
religious  terms.  With  their  own  social  and  cultural  fabric 
(epitomised  in  the  Orange  Order)  and  history  of  opposition 
to  the  Irish  nationalist  cause,  they  have  therefore  acted  as 
the  "loyalist"  allies  of  British  imperialism.  At  the  same 
time,  in  this  century  the  allegiance  has  been  more  a  means 
than  an  end,  demonstrated,  for  example,  by  the  willingness 
of  Sir  Edmund  Carson  to  seek  German  aid  if  British 
imperialism  would  not  fulfill  the  Ulster  Protestants' 
demands  and  by  the  1974  Ulster  Workers  Strike. 

In  all  likelihood,  a  definite  resolution  of  the  exact 
character  of  the  Ulster  Protestant  community  will  be 
reached  with  the  withdrawal  of  the  British  army  and  will 
depend  on  the  circumstances  surrounding  this.  The 
particular  conditions  will  pose  point-blank  their  future  and 
the  "solution"  to  the  Irish  question.  The  solution  posed  by 
A.J. P.  Taylor  is  but  one  possibility: 

"The  question  is  whether  the  Irish  nationalist  majority  is 
strong  enough  to  expel  the  Protestants.  If  they  are.  that  is'the 
best  way  out." 

— quoted  in  the  Guardian  [London],  13  April  1976 

At  the  same  time  the  social  organisation,  weaponry, 
military  expertise  and  alliances  of  the  Protestants,  make  a 
"Zionist"  solution  entirely  conceivable.  On  the  other  hand, 
if  the  withdrawal  of  the  British  army  was  in  the  context  of 
massive  class  mobilisations,  opportunities  would  un- 
doubtedly arise  for  a  class  determination  of  the  question. 

8.  Attempts  to  ignore  or  deny  the  separate  identity  and 
interests  of  the  Ulster  Protestants  through  the  familiar 
liberal  plea  that  British  or  other  socialists  cannot  "tell  the 
Irish  how  to  wage  their  struggle"  or  the  argument  that  only 
oppressed  nations  have  a  right  to  self-determination  can  be 
rejected  easily  on  general  theoretical  grounds.  The 
Protestants  are  neither  a  colonial  administration  (as  were 
the  British  in  India)  nor  a  closed  colour  caste  (as  are  the 
whites  in  South  Africa).  Arguments  that  the  Protestants 
have  no  legitimate  claim  because  they  were  originally 
settlers  and  the  present  statelet  is  an  artificial  imperialist 
creation  are  based  ultimately  on  notions  of  nationalist 
irredentism  and  "historical  justice."  Although  sometimes 
expressed  as  the  demand  that  the  Protestants  go  "home," 
such  arguments  are  in  the  last  analysis  genocidal.  Also 
inadequate  is  the  explanation  of  the  Protestants  as  simply  a 
backward  sector  of  the  Irish  nation,  whose  loyalism/Or- 
angeism  is  purely  an  imperialist  ideology  given  a  certain 
nationalist  tinge  in'order  to  attract  a  mass  base. 

9.  Protestant  communalism  does  have  a  material  basis 
in  the  marginal  privileges  enjoyed  by  the  Protestant 
workers.  The  most  explicit  attempt  to  confront  and 
discount  the  Protestant  community's  separate  identity  in 
"Marxist"  terms  is  the  description  of  the  Protestant 
working  class  as  a  "labor  aristocracy."  This  explanation  is 
similar  to  the  New  Left  theories  about  the  American  white 
working  class  and  involves  an  attempt  to  broaden  the  term 
so  as  to  destroy  its  original  meaning,  while  failing  to 

continued  on  next  page 


20 


SPARTACIST 


Theses  on  Ireland... 

(continued  from  page  19) 

recognise  that  the  Protestant  community  extends  through 
all  classes  and  strata  of  society.  Even  to  claim  that  the  entire 
Protestant  working  class  of  Northern  Ireland  is  a  labour 
aristocracy  is  a  gross  distortion  of  the  term.  The  Northern 
Ireland  working  class  as  a  whole  has  some  of  the  worst 
wages,  unemployment  and  housing  in  the  British  Isles. 
Moreover,  wage  differentials  between  Protestant  and 
Catholic  workers  are  not  so  marked  that  the  two 
communities  have  significantly  different  living  standards. 

10.  From  the  point  of  view  of  the  general  interests  of 
British  imperialism  the  border  between  Ulster  and  the 
Republic  is  now  anachronistic: 

"Uriited  Kingdom  soldiers  and  officials  and  money  are 
heavily  deployed  in  Northern  Ireland  because  Westminster 
has  clear  obligations  there.  English  Governments  of  the 
sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries  planted  the  garrison- 
colonists  whose  descendents'  presence  has  been  the  principal 
source  of  Ireland's  twentieth  century  distress;  and  London  is 
the  seat  of  such  authority  as  the  Province  knows.  To 
withdraw  that  authority  now  would  intensify  the  problem  of 
public  order  without  in  the  least  advancing  a  settlement  of 
the  central  political  question.  The  search  for  an  acceptable 
local  administration  would  simply  continue  in  worsened 
circumstances.  Britain's  strategic  interest  in  Northern 
Ireland  is  dead,  and  its  economic  interest  is  all  on  the  side  of 
withdrawal;  but  moral  as  well  as  practical  considerations 
demand  that  British  resources  should  remain  engaged  until 
both  the  political  and  the  public  order  problems  are  at  least 
within  sight  of  resolution." 

O/j^frver  [London],  1  February  1976 

While  historically  British  imperialism  has  used  the 
sectarian  divisions,  played  the  "Ulster  card"  to  its  own 
advantage,  it  is  not  now  committed  to  the  preservation  of 
the  Orange  statelet  and  would  prefer  a  settlement  which 
would  remove  its  direct  political  responsibility  on  the 
island.  With  the  decline  of  Ulster  industry  and  the  growth 
of  investment  opportunities  in  the  south,  the  border  is  an 
obstacle  to  its  overall  intentions.  But  at  the  same  time  as  it 
adopts  various  schemes  to  this  end  British  imperialism  is 
constrained  to  maintain  capitalist  law  and  order  and 
prevent  a  complete  breakdown  in  the  social  order.  The 
increase  in  independence  talk  by  Ulster  Protestants,  the 
Ulster  Workers  Strike  of  1974  and  the  significant  number 
of  Protestants  imprisoned  for  political  offences  do  not 
reflect  mere  "tactical"  differences  between  the  imperialists 
and  their  subordinates,  but  rather  a  divergence  of  interests 
between  genuinely  distinct  forces. 

11.  We  reject  the  argument  that  Protestant  workers  are 
so  reactionary  that  only  force  will  convince  them  and  that 
the  precondition  for  winning  them  is  the  destruction  of  the 
Orange  statelet.  The  understanding  that  the  current 
partition  is  inherently  oppressive  is  perverted  into  a 
conception  of  a  "two-stage"  revolution  in  which  the 
socialist  tasks  can  only  follow  the  completion  of  Irish 
national  unity  on  the  whole  island.  Sometimes  linked  to 
this  is  the  claim  that  it  is  "naive"  to  expect  the  Protestant 
and  Catholic  workers  to  unite  on  "economic"  issues,  since 
it  is  these  that  divide  them.  By  analogy,  no  working  class 
could  ever  transcend  its  sectional  interests.  Economism  is 
the  political  expression  of  the  failure  of  the  working  class  in 
the  absence  of  a  revolutionary  leadership  to  reject 
bourgeois  ideology  and  place  its  revolutionary  class 
interests  above  particular,  sectional  or  apparent  needs  or 


desires.  The  above  argument  is  based  on  the  central 
premise  of  economism— that  the  working  class  cannot 
transcend  its  immediate  sectional  interests  and  identify 
with  all  oppressed  and  the  future  of  humanity.  Such  "anti- 
economism"  is  in  fact  a  denial  of  the  pertinence  of  the 
Transitional  Programme  in  the  service  of  the  nationalism  of 
the  oppressed. 

12.  The  Protestants  feel  legitimately  threatened  by  the 
proposal  for  a  united  (bourgeois)  Ireland,  that  is,  their 
forcible  absorption  into  an  enlarged  version  of  the 
reactionary  clericalist  state  of  Eire.  The  communalism/  na- 
tionalism of  the  Protestants  has  a  defensive  character  and  is 
not  the  chauvinism  of  a  great  power.  A  united  bourgeois 
Ireland  would  not  provide  a  democratic  solution  for  their 
claims  and  we  must  therefore  reject  such  a  solution.  Such  a 
state  would  necessarily  be  sectarian,  and  the  Protestants 
will  not  voluntarily  enter  such  a  union. 

The  difficulties  of  such  a  solution  are  indicated  in  the 
earlier  experience  of  the  Bolsheviks.  At  the  Second 
Congress  of  the  Communist  International  in  1920  the 
Ukrainian  delegate  Merejin  observed  in  an  amendment  to 
the  "Theses  on  the  National  and  Colonial  Questions": 
"The  attempt  made  to  settle  the  relationship  between  the 
nations  of  the  majority  and  the  minority  nationalities  in 
territories  of  mixed  population  (Ukraine,  Poland,  White 
Russia),  has  shown  that  the  transfer  of  the  power  of 
government  from  the  hands  of  the  big  capitalists  to  the 
groups  of  petty  bourgeoisie  constituting  the  democratic 
republics  not  only  does  not  diminish  but,  on  the  contrary, 
aggravates  the  friction  among  the  nationalities.  The 
democratic  republics  oppose  themselves  to  the  proletariat 
and  attempt  to  convert  the  class  war  into  a  national  one. 
They  become  rapidly  impregnated  with  nationalistic  exclu- 
siveness,  and  easily  adapt  themselves  to  the  practices  of  the 
previous  dominating  nations,  which  fermented  discord 
among  the  nationalities,  and  organised  pogroms,  with  the 
assistance  of  the  government  apparatus,  to  combat  the 
dictatorship  of  the  proletariat  " 

The  present  Irish  bourgeois  republic  is  a  clerical  reaction- 
ary state  in  which  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  enjoys 
considerable  real  and  latent  powers.  An  essential  aspect  of 
this  is  not  the  current  level  of  religious  persecution  or 
discrimination  (though  the  current  repressive  measures 
directed  mostly  against  the  I R  A  are  an  indication  of  the  Irish 
bourgeoisie's  intentions),  but  the  relationship  of  Roman 
Catholicism  to  Irish  nationalism,  especially  as  it  helps  to 
define  the  divisions  between  the  two  communities. 

Leninism  and  nationalism  are  fundamentally  counter- 
posed  political  viewpoints.  Thus,  while  revolutionists 
struggle  against  all  forms  of  national  oppression,  they  are 
also  opposed  to  all  forms  of  nationalist  ideology.  It  is  a 
revision  of  Leninism  to  claim  that  the  "nationalism  of  the 
oppressed"  is  progressive  and  can  be  supported  by 
communist  internationalists.  In  one  of  his  major  works  on 
the  national  question  Lenin  stressed: 

"Marxism  cannot  be  reconciled  with  nationalism,  be  it  even 

of  the  'most  just,'  'purest,'  most  refined  and  civilised  brand. 

In  place  of  all  forms  of  nationalism  Marxism  advances 

internationalism  " 

"Critical  Remarks  on  the  National  Question," 
Collected  Works,  Vol.  20 

To  attempt  to  dismiss  the  above-mentioned  features  of 
Irish  nationalism  and  the  Irish  Republic,  to  suggest  that 
somehow  these  matters  are  not  important,  is  to  imply  that 
Irish  nationalism  and  capitalism  are  in  some  way 
"progressive"  and  (unlike  all  other  nationalists  and 
capitalists)  will  not  promote  racial,  sexual  and  communal 


AUTUMN  1977 


21 


divisions  in  the  working  class,  in  particular  will  not 
discriminate  and  persecute  non-members  of  their  national 
grouping. 

13.  Ireland,  like  other  situations  of  interpenetrated 
peoples  as  in  the  Middle  East  and  Cyprus,  is  a  striking 
confirmation  of  the  Trotskyist  theory  of  permanent 
revolution.  The  inevitable  conclusion  is  that  while 
revolutionists  must  oppose  all  aspects  of  national  oppres- 
sion, they  must  also  recognise  that  the  conflicting  claims  of 
interpenetrated  peoples  can  only  be  equitably  resolved  in 
the  framework  of  a  workers  state.  We  struggle  for  an  Irish 
workers  republic  as  part  of  a  socialist  federation  of  the 
British  Isles.  While  the  establishment  of  a  united  workers 
state  of  the  whole  island  may  be  preferable,  the  above 
demand  is  algebraic,  leaving  open  the  question  of  where  the 
Protestants  fall.  This  recognises  that  the  nature  of  the 
Protestant  community  has  not  yet  been  determined  in 
history.  As  such,  it  is  counterposed  to  calls  for  a  "united 
workers  republic"  or  for  a  "united  socialist  Ireland"  (where 
this  demand  is  not  simply  an  expression  for  left/nationalist 
or  Stalinist  two-stage  theories).  Placing  the  demand  in  the 
context  of  a  socialist  federation  has  the  additional 
advantage  of  highlighting  the  essential  relationship  af  the 
proletarian  revolution  in  the  whole  area  and  the  virtual 
impossibility  of  the  resolution  of  the  Irish  question  on  a 


G.  Peress/Magnum 


IRA  checkpoint  in  the  Bogside  in  Londonderry,  1972. 


working-class  basis  outside  this  framework.  This,  and  the 
strong  representation  of  Irish  workers  in  the  working  class 
in  Britain,  points  to  the  demand  for  a  British  Isles-wide 
trade-union  federation  as  a  method  of  promoting  joint 
struggle  and  cutting  across  the  divisions  in  the  working 
class  in  Ireland. 

14.  Particular  emphasis  must  be  placed  on  the  demand 
for  programmatically  based  anti-sectarian  workers  militias 
to  combat  Orange  and  Green  terror  and  imperialist 
rampage.  The  British  bourgeois  press  and  the  local 
imperialists'  bloodstained  henchmen  in  the  British  Labour 
Party  responded  hysterically  to  a  composite  motion  at  the 
1976  BLP  Conference  demanding  the  withdrawal  of  British 
troops  and  the  formation  of  a  trade-union  based  militia, 
despite  the  fact  that  the  motion  was  the  inadvertent  result 
of  right-wing  culling  of  motions  expressing  ersatz  Irish 
nationalist  positions  and  a  mealy-mouthed  resolution  from 
the  Militant  grouping.  Our  demand  is  not  the  same  as  that 
of  the  deeply  opportunist  and  BLP-entrist  Militant  group, 
which  links  its  call  for  trade-union  militias  to  the  call  for 
troop  withdrawal  in  a  way  that  makes  the  existence  of 
trade-union  militias  a  precondition  for  troop  withdrawal 
and  which  sees  the  militias  as  growing  organically  out  of 
economist  struggles.  In  Ulster  the  problem  is  not  that  the 
workers  are  not  armed.  Such  militias  will  need  a  broad  and 
strong  programmatic  basis  if  they  are  not  to  be  derailed  or 
coopted.  They  cannot  develop  just  out  of  trade  unionism 
but  fundamentally  require  the  existence  of  a  strong  and 
authoritative  revolutionary  cadre.  Each  militia  unit  would 
need  at  least  one  member  of  each  community  and  the 
presence  and  strong  influence  of  trained  revolutionary 
cadre.  Consequently,  the  demand  for  an  anti-sectarian 
workers  militia  is  closely  linked  to  the  growth  of  a  Leninist 
party  based  on  a  developed  revolutionary  program. 
Without  being  based  on  the  demand  for  the  immediate 
withdrawal  of  the  British  army  and  without  our  analysis  of 
terrorism,  for  example,  such  workers  militias  would  simply 
be  the  armed  adjunct  of  the  women's  peace  movement. 

15.  In  military  conflicts  between  Irish  nationalist  or- 
ganisations and  the  British  army/state  authorities  we 
defend  the  actions  of  the  former  since  this  is  still  a  struggle 
of  an  oppressed  nationality  against  imperialism,  even 
though  their  struggle  may  be  associated  with  a  program 
which,  if  accomplished,  would  violate  the  democratic 
rights  of  the  Protestants.  This  stance  implies  nothing  about 
the  program  of  these  groups,  which  can  range  from  those 
similar  to  the  Zionist  Stern  Gang  and  Grivas'  EOKA  to 
more  radical  "socialist"  nationalists. 

Outside  this  military  struggle  with  British  imperialism 
and  its  direct  agents,  in  the  conflict  between  the  Irish 
Catholic  and  Protestant  communities  and  their  respective 
organisations,  the  national/communal  aspect  transcends 
any  formal  left/right  differences.  Such  violence  is  frequent- 
ly directed  against  symbols  of  non-sectarianism  (for 
example,  pubs  where  both  Catholic  and  Protestant 
workers  socialise)  and  is  an  obstacle  to  any  form  of 
integrated  class  struggle.  Terrorist  acts  directed  against  the 
Protestant  community  by  organisations  of  the  oppressed 
Irish  Catholic  community  are  in  no  way  a  blow  against 
imperialism,  not  justifiable  as  the  "violence  of  the 
oppressed"  and  are  no  more  "progressive"  or  defensible 
than  similar  acts  by  Protestant  paramilitary  groups.  Thus, 
continued  on  next  page 


22 


SPARTACIST 


Theses  on  Ireland... 

(continued from  page  21 ) 

while  attacks  on  British  army  posts  or  the  bombing  of 
Aldershot  miHtary  barracks  are  politically  defensible  acts, 
the  pub  bombings  (both  in  Catholic  and  Protestant 
neighbourhoods),  the  London  underground  bombings,  the 
South  Armagh  shootings  and  other  such  acts  of  indiscrimi- 
nate terrorism  are  completely  indefensible,  in  no  way 
representing  a  blow  against  imperialism.  Such  acts,  based 
as  they  are  on  nationalist  and  genocidal  premises,  can  only 
deepen  communal  divisions  and  erect  barriers  to  working- 
class  unity. 

In  such  circumstances  we  recognise  the  right  of  both 
communities  to  self-defence.  Simply  because  an  organisa- 
tion claims  to  be  fighting  on  behalf  of  the  oppressed  and 
against  imperialism  does  not  make  all  its  acts  defensible.  If 
this  were  so,  then  revolutionists  would  be  compelled  to 
defend  the  actions  of  both  the  EOKA  in  Cyprus  and  the 
Zionist  Stern  Gang  in  Palestine  (organisations  to  whom  the 
Provisional  IRA  are  akin),  not  only  when  they  attacked 
British  imperialism  but  respectively  in  their  attacks  on  the 
Turkish  community  and  the  Palestinians  (at  Deir  Yassin, 
for  example).  Only  with  this  understanding  of  terrorism 
can  the  workers  militias  in  Northern  Ireland  be  armed 
against  capitulating  to  a  blanket  approval  of  the  terrorism 
of  the  oppressed  or  becoming  a  mask  for  the  machinations 
of  imperialism. 

16.  In  the  history  of  the  Irish  labour  movement  there 
have  been  examples  of  significant  workers'  solidarity  which 
have  temporarily  cut  across  the  sectarian  divisions. 
Invariably,  as  in  the  case  of  the  1919  Belfast  engineers' 
strike  and  the  mass  unemployment  marches  in  the  1930's, 


they  have  been  countered  with  massive  sectarian  mobilisa- 
tions intended  to  wipe  out  the  fragile  proletarian  unity.  In 
the  absence  of  a  revolutionary  party,  there  can  arise 
examples  of  transitory  unity,  albeit  on  pacifist  or  reformist 
grounds.  A  sequel  to  the  South  Armagh  shootings  was 
joint  marches  of  Protestant  and  Catholic  workers;  but  they 
marched  to  demand  the  strengthening  of  the  RUC,  which 
must  be  smashed. 

Even  such  examples  indicate  the  potentiality  for  workers 
unity.  The  instances  of  class  solidarity  are  not  proof  of  a 
deep-seated  strain  of  class  unity  or  that  the  situation  is  not 
poisoned  by  sectarian  hatreds,  but  indicate  that  the 
opportunity  can  arise  for  a  revolutionary  organisation, 
though  perhaps  hitherto  isolated,  weak  and  small,  to 
intervene,  altering  the  course  of  the  conflict  toward  a  class 
determination  and  pfoletarian  revolution. 

For  the  Immediate  and  Unconditional  Withdrawal  of 
the  British  Army! 

Smash  the  R  UC  and  the  UDR! 

Down  with  the  Prevention  of  Terrorism  Act  and  All 
Other  Special  Powers  Acts  in  Britain  and  Ireland! 

Full  Democratic  Rights  for  the  Catholic  Minority  in 
Northern  Ireland! 

No  Discrimination  in  Hiring  and  Housing!  For  a  Sliding 
Scale  of  Wages  and  Hours! 

For  a  Programmatically  Based  Anti-Sectarian  Workers 
Militia  To  Combat  Orange  and  Green  Terror  and 
Imperialist  Rampage! 

For  a  British  Isles- Wide  Trade- Union  Federation! 

Forward  to  the  Irish  Section  of  the  Reborn  Fourth 
International! 

No  Forcible  Reunification!  For  An  Irish  Workers 
Republic  Within  A  Socialist  Federation  of  the  British 
Isles! 


AUTUMN  1977 


23 


On  Bourgeois  Class 
Consciousness 

by  Joseph  Seymour 


"Each  new  class  which  puts  itself  in  the 
place  of  the  one  ruling  before  it,  is 
compelled,  merely  in  order  to  carry 
through  its  aim,  to  represent  its  interest  as 
the  common  interest  of  all  members  of 
society  —  It  will  give  its  ideas  the  form  of 
universality,  and  present  them  as  the  only 
rational,  universally  valid  ones." 

—  Karl  Marx,  The  German  Ideology 


The  relationship  between  the  institutional 
structure  of  capitalism  and  the  conscious  policies  of 
the  bourgeoisie  remains  something  of  a  gray  area  in 
Marxist  theory.  At  one  pole  is  the  purely  structural 
approach  of  social-democratic  revisionism,  inwhich 
the  institutions  of  capitalism  are  not  associated  with 
nor  considered  to  be  defended  by  definite  groups  of 
people.  This  outlook  is  central  to  the  social- 
democratic  theory  of  the  state.  At  the  other  pole  is  the 
conspiracy  theory  of  history,  in  which  a  totally  self- 
conscious  ruling  class  manipulates  society  to  remain 
in  power. 

Historically,  the  conspiracy  approach  has  been 
generally  associated  with  "leftism."  However,  this  is 
not  logically  necessary.  A  purely  manipulationist 
view  of  capitalism  can  lead  to  a  completely  elastic 
conception  of  reformist  possibilities,  particularly  the 
degree  to  which  unlimited  economic  concessions  can 
be  granted,  thus  ignoring  the  law  of  value.  Thus 
either  approach  can  be  compatible  with  reformist 
conclusions — either  the  view  that  there  are  only  the 
automatic  workings  of  the  system  without  a  definite 
class  enemy,  or  the  view  that  the  bourgeoisie  is  so 
conscious  that  it  can  forestall  any  development  of  a 
revolutionary  situation,  making  reformism  the  only 
feasible  approach. 

A  purely  structural  approach  is  compatible  with 
those  forms  of  "leftism"  which  consist  solely  in 
propagandizing  that  socialism  is  a  superior  form  of 
social  organization  (e.g.  DeLeonism).  It  is,  however, 
incompatible  with  Leninism.  The  Leninist  theory  of 
the  state  holds  that  the  ruling  class  is  a  definite  group 
of  people  who  have  to  be  replaced  in  the  administra- 
tion of  society  by  another  definite  group  of  people, 
the  core  of  which  is  the  proletarian  vanguard  party. 
Thus  the  Leninist  party  is  not  only  an  instrument  for 
organizing  the  revolutionary  class  for  the  seizure  of 


power,  but  is  also  the  nucleus  of  the  administration  of 
a  workers  state. 

"The  Best  of  All  Possible  Worlds" 

Bourgeois  class  "consciousness"  is  not  Marxist 
class  analysis  in  reverse.  It  is  necessarily  a  false 
consciousness  imposed  on  the  bourgeoisie  by  its  need 
to  "represent  its  interest  as  the  common  interest  of  all 
members  of  society"  and  to  "give  its  ideas  the  form  of 
universality."  Therefore,  bourgeois  ideology  always 
presents  the  existing  society  as  the  "best  of  all  possi- 
ble worlds."  This  is  not  to  say  that  bourgeois  ideology 
always  presents  society  in  an  optimistic  light.  But 
where  a  pessimistic  outlook  is  presented,  human 
suffering  is  attributed  to  human  nature  (e.g. 
Hobbes),  scarce  natural  resources  (e.g.  Malthus)  or 
god. 

Insofar  as  it  does  not  borrow  from  Marxism, 
bourgeois  ideology  is  simply  a  hypostatization  of 
bourgeois  society.  The  central  principle  of  bourgeois 
social  theory,  from  Comte  through  Weber  to  Talcott 
Parsons,  is  the  universality  and  necessity  of  social 
stratification.  The  idea  of  an  egalitarian  society 
based  on  the  enormous  raising  of  the  technical  and 
cultural  level  of  mankind  is  completely  foreign  to 
bourgeois  sociology.  Bourgeois  economics,  by  defi- 
nition, deals  with  a  society  characterized  by  scarcity 
in  the  face  of  unequal  distribution  of  skills  and 

resources.  . 

continued  on  next  page 


24  SPARTACIST 


Even  where  bourgeois  ideology  appropriates 
some  Marxist  concepts,  it  retains  its  "best  of  all 
possible  worlds"  aspect.  This  is  most  clearly  ex- 
pressed in  social-democratic  revisionism,  represent- 
ed by  George  Lichtheim.  Post  World  War  II  revision- 
ism of  the  Kautskyan  school  maintains  that 
capitalism  has  changed  to  meet  the  programmatic 
goals  which  nineteenth  century  Marxism  associated 
only  with  a  socialist  regime.  Thus,  it  is  claimed  that 
universal  suffrage  in  a  parliamentary  system  has 
effectively  transferred  political  powertothe working 
class,  or  that  technocratic  capitalist  planning  means 
production  for  use  and  not  for  profit. 

Reactionary  Marxists? 

The  question  of  bourgeois  class  consciousness 
bears  a  certain  relation  to  the  old  Austro-Marxist 
concept  of  a  Marxist  who  is  notasocialist — one  who 
recognizes  the  historical  inevitability  of  socialism 
but  does  not  support  it,  or  possibly  even  opposes  it. 
However,  the  Marxist  analysis  of  class  society  leads 
directly  to  an  understanding  of  socialism  as  a  just, 
super-abundant  society  capable  of  producinghappi- 
er  human  beings.  To  recognize  this  and  still  oppose 
socialism  is  to.  be  completely  cynical.  As  Lukacs 
correctly  pointed  out,  the  Austro-Marxist  dichoto- 
my between  grasping  a  Marxist  class  analysis  and 
opting  for  a  socialist  society  was  a  pseudo-problem 
created  by  divorcing  thought  from  its  necessary 
social  consequences — an  exercise  in  rational  ideal- 
ism. It  isdoubtful  if  evenasingle  bourgeois  politician 
could  be  totally  cynical  yet  still  effective.  It  is  clearly 
impossible  for  the  entire  ruling  class  to  be  cynical— 
i.e.,  to  despair  of  the  social  desirability  or  even  the 
historical  possibility  of  its  remaining  in  power. 

It  is  significant  that  bourgeois  politics  approaches 
open  cynicism  only  in  extreme  degeneration — 
fascism.  And  even  here  pure  ruling-class  power  is 
disguised  with  nationalist  ideology  of  the  most 
reactionary  sort.  It  is  also  significant  that  fascism 
produced  (as  much  by  its  ideology  as  by  its  actions)  a 
profound  moral  revulsion  on  the  part  of  the  Europe- 
an working  class  which  was  an  important  element  in 
the  revolutionary  situation  which  developed  in  the 
wake  of  World  War  II.  The  deep  popularity  and 
revolutionary  aspect  of  anti-fascist  sentiment  threw 
the  European  bourgeoisie  back  to  liberal  reformist 
ideology  and  parliamentary  politics. 

The  falsity  of  the  notion  that  the  ruling  class  are 
Marxists  who  are  on  the  other  side  of  the  barricades 
is  demonstrated  by  ideologues  trained  in  the  manipu- 
lation of  Marxist  concepts  who  go  over  to  the  camp 
of  reaction,  such  as  Robert  Michels  and  James 
Burnham.  In  their  careers  as  reactionaries,  they 
experience  continual  frustration  at  their  inability  to 
win  the  bourgeoisie  over  to  a  "counter-Marxist" 
worldview.  Thus  most  of  James  Burnham's  writings 
are  aimed  at  demonstrating  how  traditional  bour- 


geois ideology  is  an  obstacle  to  understanding  the 
strength  and  danger  of  communism  and  how  con- 
flicts within  the  bourgeoisie  are  an  obstacle  to  com- 
batting communism.  Burnham  wrote  an  entire  book 
designed  to  prove  that  the  dominant  political  atti- 
tudes of  the  American  ruling  class  were  optimistical- 
ly false.  Burnham  felt  continually  frustrated  by 
national  capitalist  rivalry,  attacking  Gaullism  as  a 
petty-bourgeois  deviation.  European  conservatives 
found  Burnham's  hostility  to  DeGaulle,  a  successful 
right-wing  authoritarian,  inexplicable  or  an  expres- 
sion of  American  chauvinism.  Only  an  ideologue 
familiarwith  Marxism  could  place  class  unity  (bour- 
geois class  unity)  higher  than  national  interest. 
Burnham's  attitude  is  totally  unacceptable  to  the 
bourgeois  worldview,  even  when  it  is  self- 
consciously presented  in  the  interest  of  the 
bourgeoisie. 

Historical  vs.  Immediate  Interest 

A  common  error  in  analyzing  bourgeois  class 
consciousness  is  a  tendency  to  anthropomorphize 
class  so  that  the  bourgeoisie  is  seen  to  act  rationally  in 
its  long-term  interests.  To  the  bourgeois  class  are 
attributed  all  kinds  of  individual  characteristics — 
volition,  foresight,  memory,  etc.  Associated  with  this 
is  a  tendency  to  overstate  the  degree  to  which  the  state 
shapes  the  economy,  undervaluing  the  operations  of 
the  market.  It  is  important  to  realize  the  essentially 
atomized  nature  of  the  bourgeoisie.  The  basic  motive 
force  of  bourgeois  behavior  is  maximization  of 
individual  firm  profits.  The  degree  to  which  actual 
capitalists  are  willing  to,  or  able  to,  sacrifice  profit 
maximization  to  some  conception  of  the  historic 
interest  of  their  class  is  quite  limited.  History  is 
replete  with  examples  of  individual  capitalist  appe- 
tites undermining  the  general  policy  of  the  ruling 
class.  The  classic  example  is  the  sale  of  U.S.  scrap 
metal  to  Japan  during  the  diplomatic  escalation 
preceding  World  War  II.  The  sugar  beet  lobby 
proved  a  minor,  but  real,  obstacle  to  the  Eisenhower 
administration's  cutting  the  Cuban  sugar  quota  in 
1959,  fearing  that  a  reorganization  of  the  U.S.  sugar 
import  system  would  weaken  its  own  monopolistic 
position.  Even  where  the  majority  of  capitalists  are 
prepared  to  work  for  a  certain  policy,  the  mechan- 
isms for  doingso  are  faulty.  The  institution  of  private 
property  imposes  strict  limits  on  the  state,  which  is 
the  main  instrument  of  collective  ruling-class  action. 
This  is  demonstrated  by  the  relative  inefficiency  of 
capitalist  war  planning  even  where  the  overwhelm- 
ing majority  of  capitalists  are  genuinely  trying  to 
cooperate. 

Is  the  Bourgeoisie  an  International  Class? 

A  fundamental  question  about  bourgeois  class 
consciousness  is  whether  the  bourgeoisie  is  capable 
of  transcending  national  identity  and  interests  for 


AUTUMN  1977 


25 


some  conception  ofinternational  class  solidarity.  On 
this  question  turn  both  the  tendency  toward  inter- 
imperialist  war  and  the  likelihood  and  efficacy  of 
international  interventions  against  proletarian  revo- 
lutions and  resulting  workers  states. 

Part  ofthe  disorientation  of /4wm'caAj  ideologues, 
radical  or  otherwise,  stemmed  from  the  global 
appetites  of  U.S.  imperialism  in  the  1943-71  period 
(Henry  Luce's  "American  Century"  and  the  U.S. 
"obligation"  to  "defend  the  Free  World").  This  was 
taken  by  some  to  reflect  the  American  bourgeoisie's 
transcendence  of  mere  national  aspirations.  In  fact, 
what  it  constituted  was  a  national  ruling  class  pos- 
sessing for  a  historical  moment  so  much  productive 
power  that  it  aspired  to  subordinate  theentire planet 
to  U.S.  domination — a  very  ordinary  appetite  writ 
large. 

The  issue  was  first  posed  sharply  in  the  Marxist 
movement  by  Kautsky'stheory  of  ultra-imperialism, 
which  held  that  competition  between  imperialist 
nations  could  be  peacefully  mediated  in  the  same 
manner  as  competition  between  domestic  monopo- 
lies. Lenin  countered  that  the  bourgeoisie  cannot 
transcend  national  interests  and  that  inter- 
imperialist  agreements  can  only  be  based  on  the 
existing  balance  of  strength  which  all  parties  are 
desperately  seeking  to  change  to  their  advantage. 

That  the  tendency  toward  inter-imperialist  war 
exists  despite  its  known  de-stabilizing  effects  on  the 
bourgeois  order  is  indicated  by  the  last  reported 
meeting  between  the  French  ambassador  Coulandre 
and  Hitler  before  the  outbreak  of  World  War  IL 
Both  agreed  that  a  prolonged  war  might  well  produce 
proletarian  revolutions  ("only  Trotsky  will  be  the 
victor,"  Coulandre  is  reported  to  have  said).  And  yet 
neither  the  French  nor  the  German  ruling  class  was 
prepared  to  sacrifice  its  aim  of  national  expansion  to 
prevent  the  revolutionary  destruction  of  the  bour- 
geoisie which  both  considered  a  real  eventuality. 

The  national  character  of  the  bourgeoisie  is 
demonstrated  by  the  response  to  the  Bolshevik 
Revolution  and  Soviet  state.  While  all  the  imperialist 
powers  intervened  against  the  Bolsheviks,  they  were 
incapable  of  cooperating,  since  the  way  in  which 
Bolshevik  Russia  was  defeated  would  shape  the 
balance  of  world  power.  In  1923  the  Soviet  govern- 
ment effected  an  agreement  with  the  most  reaction- 
ary wing  of  the  German  ruling  class  to  train  the  Red 
Army.  During  the  1930's,  despite  talk  of  an  anti- 
Soviet  crusade,  when  the  crunch  came  all  the  capital- 
ist powers  determined  their  relations  with  the  Soviet 
Union  on  the  basis  of  immediate  national  interest. 
Germany  effected  an  alliance  with  the  Soviet  Union, 
then  broke  it  when  German  leaders  believed  they  had 


a  decisive  military  advantage.  The  Western  powers 
entered  into  an  alliance  with  the  Soviet  Union  when 
they  needed  its  military  support.  Japan  remained 
neutral  despite  its  alliance  with  Germany.  This  does 
not  mean  that  unified  international  reaction  against 
a  proletarian  revolution  is  impossible,  but  the  obsta- 
cles to  it  are  great,  as  each  imperialist  power  sees  its 
own  aggrandizement  as  the  overriding  goal. 

While  capable  of  certain  acts  and  attitudes  of 
internationalist  solidarity,  the  bourgeoisie  is  a  na- 
tionally limited  class.  It  is  capable  neither  of  abolish- 
ing national  states  nor,  often,  even  of  subordinating 
immediate  national  interests  to  the  historic  defense 
of  the  bourgeois  order. 

The  class  unity  of  the  bourgeoisie  is  undermined 
by  its  atomization  into  competing  firms  within  each 
state  and  by  the  inevitable  conflicts  between  the 
national  bourgeoisies.  The  bourgeoisie  is  moreover 
partly  the  creature  of  its  own  false  consciousness, 
bourgeois  ideology.  With  its  options  limited  by  th'e 
operation  of  the  capitalist  market  and  the  declining 
rate  of  profit,  the  bourgeoisie  maneuvers  within 
circumscribed  confines. 

The  bourgeoisie  is  not  devoid  of  elemental  class 
instinct  and  short-term  memory,  enabling  it  to  ma- 
neuver in  reaction  to  an  immediate  threat.  When  the 
working  class  is  disorganized  and  misled  by  reform- 
ist, class-collaborationist  leaderships,  the  capitalist 
class  can  consolidate  its  position  and  stave  off  its 
downfall  even  under  the  most  threatening  objective 
conditions.  In  the  1930'^  the  bourgeoisie  seized  upon 
its  last  resort,  fascism,  a  Bonapartist  form  of  rule 
which  allows  the  capitalist  state  a  relatively  greater 
degree  of  autonomy  from  the  particular  appetites  of 
sections  of  the  class  it  represents.  Followingthe  1968 
general  strike  in  France,  the  French  bourgeoisie  used 
reformism  rather  than  repression,  granting  econom- 
ic concessions  significant  enough  to  undermine 
France's  competitive  position  in  the  world  market 
for  a  short  period. 

Thus  the  capitalist  class  is  capable  of  maneuvering 
to  retain  power  granted  one  essential  factor:  the 
absence  of  a  revolutionary  proletarian  leadership 
which  seizes  the  initiative  of  the  objective  situation. 
The  lesson  to  be  drawn  from  the  failure  of  the 
working  class  thus  far  to  extend  the  one  victorious 
socialist  revolution  in  Russia  to  the  world-wide 
triumph  of  proletarian  power  is  not  to  credit  the 
bourgeoisie  with  omniscience  or  infinite  maneuvera- 
bility. The  conclusion  must  be  Trotsky's  conclusion 
of  the  crisis  of  proletarian  leadership,  which  de- 
mands the  organization  of  the  international  Leninist 
party  to  lead  the  working  class  in  the  conquest  of 
power.  ■ 


26 


SPARTACIST 


OCI  Slanders  the  Dubious 
Varga... 

(continued  from  page  32) 

ostensibly  Trotskyist  organizations  in  France  and  else- 
where to  mask  its  right  turn. 

But  the  OCI  did  not  reckon  with  the  iSt.  After  seven 
months  of  repeated  requests,  the  OCI  released  a  part  (20 
percent,  by  its  own  account)  of  the  "Varga  archives"  in 
August  1974.  Seven  months  to  xerox  200  pages! 

Meanwhile,  Varga  was  pursuing  his  mendicant  methods. 
In  the  late  1950's  he  had  sought  funds  from  the  U.S.  State 
Department.  Now  his  organization  was  running  after  the 
iSt.  not  in  order  to  engage  in  political  discussion  but  simply 
cynically  in  the  naive  hope  of  getting  financing  for  its  own 
"international  conference."  [See  "La  LIRQI  econduite  en 
fureur,"  Spartacist  (edition  fran^aise)  No.  8,  February 
1975.] 

In  February  1975  the  Spartacist  tendency  took  the  step 
of  publishing  a  long  article  entitled  "A  Workers  Commis- 
sion Must  Try  Varga."  The  article's  main  positions  on 
Varga  and  the  OCI's  baseless  accusations  were  eventually 
confirmed  by  the  deliberations  of  the  Commission  of 
Inquiry;  our  stand  might  have  been  drawn  directly  from  the 
Commission's  conclusions.  We  wrote: 

"Unfortunately,  the  irresponsible  criminal  conduct  of  the 
OCI,  which  refused  to  present  its  case  against  Varga  honestly 
before  the  workers  movement,  is  surpassed  only  by  the 
astonishingly  light-minded  response  of  the  Varga  group  to 
accusations  which,  if  they  are  founded  on  fact,  would  define 
this  tendency  as  a  sinister  clique." 

—Spartacist  [Edition  francaise],  February  1975 

While  denouncing  the  OCI's  Stalinist  methods  as  "foreign 
to  the  methodology  and  morality  of  Bolshevism,"  we 
established  that  in  his  letters  Varga  "showed  himself  to  be 
anti-Semitic,  racist  and  utterly  cynical... a  basically 
dishonest  individual  [acting]  in  bad  faith."  [See  box  for 
some  characteristic  excerpts  from  Varga's  letters.] 

From  February  until  November  1975  the  iSt, 
represented  by  its  French  sympathizing  section,  the  Ligue 
Trotskyste  de  France  (LTF),  led  the  battle  for  an  impartial 
commission,  without  the  participation  of  the  accused 
LIRQI.  The  record  of  this  fight  is  detailed  in  our 
"Declaration  to  the  Commission  of  Inquiry  on  the  Varga 
Affair"  of  3  November  1975.  During  this  entire  period  the 
SWP  held  itself  aloof,  no  doubt  hoping  the  Commission 
would  never  see  the  light  of  day.  Since  at  least  the  end  of 
1974  the  SWP  had  been  maneuvering  with  the  OCI  to 
facilitate  the  latter's  entry  into  the  USec,  and  it  was  obvious 
that  a  condemnation  of  the  OCI's  lies  by  an  impartial  and 
authoritative  commission  of  inquiry  would  damage  these 
maneuvers. 

As  for  the  LCR  and  LO,  they  never  objected  in  principle 
to  participating  in  a  commission  which  included  the 
LIRQI.  LO  went  so  far  as  to  say  that  it  was  prepared  to 
accept  the  OCI  into  a  commission  alongside  the  LIRQI! 
The  iSt  "Declaration"  of  3  November  was  drawn  up  after  a 
meeting  on  30  October  1975  during  which  the  LCR  and  LO 
had  agreed  to  participate  in  a  commission  on  the  bases 
proposed  by  the  LIRQI— i.e.,  condemning  in  advance  the 
OCI's  accusations.  At  the  meeting  where  our  declaration 
was  read,  however,  the  LCR  and  LO  pulled  back  from  the 
LIRQI  "commission"— not  for  reasons  of  principle,  but 


solely  for  reasons  of  "efficiency"  and  "credibility." 

Thus  the  Vargaites  were  in  a  position  to  accuse  the  LCR 
and  LO  of  capitulating  to  the  iSt.  This  accusation  was  not 
totally  unfounded,  as  the  LCR's  and  LO's  hesitations  are  to 
be  explained  above  all  by  their  factionally  motivated  desire 
to  condemn  the  OCI.  Any  means  would  have  sufficed, 
including  the  LIRQI's  "commission."  If  these  organiza- 
tions surrendered  to  the  principled  arguments  of  the 
representative  of  the  LTF — a  tiny  organization  compared 
to  the  LCR  and  LO — it  is  no  doubt  because  they  believed 
that  a  condemnation  of  the  OCI  by  a  commission  which  did 
not  include  the  LIRQI  would  have  greater  authority.  The 
recognized  authority  of  the  iSt  regarding  the  "Varga  affair" 
also  stemmed  from  the  fact  that  we  were  the  only 
organization  to  check  the  OCI's  translations  of  Varga's 
[Hungarian-language]  materials. 

When  its  maneuver  blew  up  in  its  face,  the  LIRQI  set  up 
its  own  "commission  of  inquiry,"  of  which  it  was  in  fact  the 
only  component.  Not  content  with  accusing  the  LCR  and 
LO  of  capitulating  to  the  iSt.  an  enraged  LIRQI  accused 
the  iSt  of  being  agents  of  the  OCI  because  of  our  principled 
refusal  to  participate  in  the  captive  LIRQI  commission. 
As  we  said  in  our  "Declaration": 

"We  cannot  take  part  in  a  cynical  operation  totally  devoid  of 
the  most  minimal  democratic  principles,  whose  only  aim 
appears  to  be  to  whitewash  Varga  in  the  hope  of  factional 
advantage  against  the  OCI.  We  are  equally  against 
whitewashes  and  frame-ups." 

—  WV^o.  85,  14  November  1975 

The  Commission  l\/leets 

On  LO's  initiative,  a  real  commission  of  inquiry  was 
formed  in  March  1976.  From  April  until  December  1976, 
the  Commission  gathered  testimony,  documents,  whatever 
was  relevant  to  the  "Varga  affair." 

At  the  beginning,  the  OCI  took  a  very  aggressive  attitude 
toward  the  Commission.  It  repeatedly  stated  that  the 
Commission  should  confine  itself  to  "authenticating"  the 
documents  from  Varga's  archives,  and  congratulated  itself 
that  the  members  of  the  Commission  "admitted"  the 
^documents'  authenticity.  The  OCI  suggested  over  and  over 
in  10  (in  June  1976  and  again  in  October)  that  the  iSt 
shared  its  accusations  against  Varga.  To  make  this 
amalgam,  the  OCI  quoted  our  criticisms  of  Varga  (passing 
over  in  silence  our  criticisms  of  the  OCI)  in  a  way  calculated 
to  suggest  that  we  shared  its  characterization  of  Varga.  It 
was  only  after  the  iSt  addressed  a  letter  of  protest  to  /O  that 
the  OCI  ceased  to  put  forth  this  kind  of  amalgam. 

In  throwing  up  this  smokescreen,  the  OCI  hoped  to 
obscure  the  fact  that  the  real  question  was  whether  or  not 
the  documents  confirmed  the  OCI's  accusations.  It  is  now 
established  that  they  do  not  confirm  the  charges,  which  are 
therefore  revealed  as  slanders.  All  the  more  so  since  the 
OCI  representatives  systematically  refused  to  present  cither 
elements  which  might  have  aided  in  "proving"  the 
accusations;  it  must  be  concluded  that  "other"  proofs  do 
not  exist. 

The  OCI's  attitude  toward  the  Commission  came  out  in 
its  refusal  (despite  its  protestations  to  the  contrary)  to  make 
the  entire  archives  available  to  the  Commission  or  to 
groups  which  had  requested  them.  Testifying  before  the 
Commission  on  22  April  1976,  Claude  Chisserey  of  the 
OCI  leadership  claimed  that  the  80  percent  of  the  archives 
which  the  OCI  kept  to  itself  consisted  of  bulletins  and 


AUTUMN  1977 


27 


documents  internal  to  the  OCI  and  thus  he  "saw  no  point" 
in  turning  them  over  to  the  Commission— which,  said 
Chisserey,  alluding  disingenuously  to  the  exchange  of 
internal  bulletins  between  the  OCI  and  SWP,  the 
Commission  was  certainly  familiar  with  already.  But  the 
SWP  representative  later  stated  that  the  SWP  had  never 
received  any  such  bulletins. 

Later,  the  OCI  refused  to  allow  Pierre  Broue  and  Jean- 
Jacques  Marie  (who  had  collaborated  with  Varga  on  the 
journal  of  his  Institute)  or  Roger  Monnier  (with  whom 
Varga  had  left  his  archives)  to  testify  before  the 
Commission. 

Toward  the  end  of  the  Commission's  deliberations,  the 
OCI  found  itself  obliged  to  testify  once  more.  Unable  to 
reply  to  the  questions  posed  by  Commission  members, 
Pierre  Lambert  was  repeatedly  reduced  to  enraged 
mutterings  such  as: 

"Draw  whatever  conclusion  you  like,  listen,  it's  your 

business.  I'm  not  here  for  that  You're  not  here  to  ask  me 

questions  about  my  organisation." 

— testimony,  16  December  1976 

Yet  the  OCI's  utter  irresponsibility  at  the  time  that  Varga 
joined  emerges  with  perfect  clarity  from  Lambert's 
testimony.  First  of  all,  he  admitted  that  Varga's  archives 
had  been  accessible  to  the  OCI  ever  since  Varga  joined  in 
about  1962:  "this  was  a  fellow  who  kept  his  archives,  at  his 
place  everything  was  well  classified,  etc."  Then  Lambert 
explicitly  declared  that,  prior  to  Varga's  joining,  "nobody 
asked  him"  for  explanations  of  his  political  activity  and 
that  "if  we  had  asked  him,  he  didn't  have  to  say  anything." 
As  for  the  OCI's  attitude  toward  the  Varga  archives  at  that 
time,  Lambert  was  eloquent:  "They  were  letters  in 
Hungarian  mostly,  in  Russian.  Not  problems  of  direct 


interest  to  us."  As  the  Spartacist  tendency  said  in  our  draft 

conclusions,  the  OCI  had: 

"...a  special  responsibility  to  try  to  examine  these  archives, 
given  the  central  importance  of  a  complete  and  unambiguous 
break  with  imperialism  on  the  part  of  those  who  claim  to 
have  broken  with  the  Stalinist  bureaucracies  in  Eastern 
Europe  and  the  USSR." 

But  all  these  "prob4ems" — including  the  possibility  of 
agents  infiltrating  would-be  Trotskyists'  ranks— did  not 
"interest"  the  OCI! 

Now,  there  are  two  possibilities.  One,  that  the  OCI  is 
telling  the  truth:  it  was  not  familiar  with  Varga's  past, 
because  "there  were  no  problems  of  direct  interest"  to  the 
OCI.  In  that  case,  it  would  seem  that  the  OCI  accepted 
Varga  without  worrying  in  the  least  about  possible 
infiltration  by  police  agents— KGB  or  (flA — into  its 
organization,  without  asking  him  the  slightest  question 
about  his  previous  political  activity.  Or  two— and  this 
seems  more  likely — that  the  OCI  was  aware  of  Varga's 
character  and  a  good  part  of  his  past,  but  covered  it  up  in 
continued  on  next  page 


"The  initial  mistake  was  that  neither  Sanyi 
nor  you  oriented  to  the  State  Department.  In 
my  opinion,  we  have  to  do  everything  to 
begin  to  orient  so  that  normal  links  can  be 
created  with  the  State  Department." 

— Balazs  Nagy  [M.  Varga]  to  Sztaray 
Zoltan,  19  December  1958 


"About  my  characterization  of  Zinner,  I'm 
not  an  anti-semite  either,  but  let's  look 
things  in  the  face:  the  Jewish  question 
exists.  I  don't  hate  them,  but  I'm  fed  up  with 
their  trying  to  act  in  our  name;  they  are 
trying  to  lead  Hungarians  without 
understanding  what  it's  about.... 
Fortunately  the  young  Oxford  Jews,  for  the 
time  being,  listen  to  us  more  than  the  old 
Jews,  but  for  how  long?" 

— Nagy/Varga  to  Sztaray  Zoltan, 
4  June  1958 


"In  our  reply  we  should  give  the  impression 
that  he  is  a  provocateur. . .  In  short,  it  is  time 
to  exclude  this  dirty  yid  from  the  cultural 
milieu." 

— Nagy/Varga  to  Joska  Molnar, 
 4  March  1959  

"In  my  opinion  the  Belgians  were  wrong  to 
grant  independence  [to  the  Congo]  with  no 
preparation,  after  a  paternalistic 
colonialism.  They  had  a  policy  of  treating 
the  Blacks  like  children  and  suddenly  they 
want  to  apply  the  most  liberal  of  policies. 
That  won't  work.  But  that's  no  reason  for  the 
Blacks  to  be  irresponsible." 

—letter  by  Nagy/Varga,  9  August  1960 


28 


SPARTACIST 


OCI  Slanders  the  Dubious 
Varga... 

(continued  from  page  27) 

order  to  show  off  its  "Eastern  European  work."  It  is 
certainly  no  accident  that  the  OCI's  noble  concern  about 
the  character  of  the  main  leader  of  its  much-vaunted 
"Eastern  European  work"  dates  from  the  emergence  of 
political  differences  with  Varga. 

For  us  as  Trotskyists,  it  is  essential  to  verify  the  total 
break  from  any  illusions  that  the  Stalinist  bureaucracy  will 
reform  itself,  as  well  as  from  Stalinophobia,  on  the  part  of 
militants  like  Varga  who  come  out  of  the  degenerated  and 
deformed  workers  states,  before  accepting  them  as 
members. 

Still  on  the  defensive,  the  OCI  several  months  later  drew 
the  Commission's  attention  to  an  interview  with  Varga  in  a 
Spanish  newspaper  and,  in  one  final  brief,  urged  the 
Commission  to  uphold  "at  least"  the  iSt's  position: 

"Starting  from  the  documents,  Varga  canaot  be 
characterized — at  the  least — differently  than  did  Spariacisi, 
as  a  'highly  dubious'  figure;  i.e.,  to  the  extent  that  it  is  not  a 
question  of  a  'moral'  characterization,  as  an  individual  who 
had  kept  up  a  certain  kind  of  relations  with  the  imperialist 
dens." 

-letter,  8  March  1977 

SWP:  OCI's  Best  Defender 

The  Commission  was  also  the  scene  of  a  factional 
struggle  between  the  two  wings  of  the  USec.  In  the 
beginning,  the  SWP,  trying  its  best  to  protect  the  OCI,  did 
not  even  want  testimony  taped!  More  generally,  the  SWP 
representative  systematically  intervened  to  limit  the  scope 
of  criticisms  against  the  OCI.  In  the  last  analysis,  the  SWP 
had  to  grant  that  the  OCI  had  proved  nothing  —and  that 
the  OCI  employs  violence  against  competing  organiza- 
tions— but  still  maintained  that  the  main  culprit 
was. . .  Varga!  It  is  the  responsibility  of  the  SWP  above  all 
that  the  Commission's  conclusions  do  not  state  the 
obvious:  the  lack  of  proof  of  the  OCI's  accusations  against 
Varga  renders  them  lying  and  slanderous.  It  was  also  the 
SWP  which  insisted  on  weakening  the  rejection  of  the 
accusations,  substituting  "these  accusations  have  not  been 
proved"  for  "...have  in  no  way  been  proved." 

As  for  LO  and  the  LCR,  in  their  common  aim  of  scoring 
points  on  the  OCI  they  maintained  that  Varga's  past  was  of 
interest  only  to  his  own  organization  and  that  a  condemna- 
tion of  the  OCI  would  suffice.  Thus  LO  refused  to  draw  the 
obvious  conclusion  about  Varga,  already  contained  in  the 
draft  conclusions  submitted  by  the  LTF  representative, 
mandated  by  the  iSt: 

"...although  Varga  himself  publicly  admitted  having 
undertaken  consciously  anti-communist  activities  in  order  to 
'combat  Marxism,'  he  has  never  explained — nor  has  he 
explicitly  renounced — certain  formulations  found  in  his 
letters  at  that  time,  which  enable  us  to  characterize  his 
attitudes  as  anti-Semitic  and  racist.  Varga  therefore  appears 
as  a  highly  dubious  figure." 

The  LCR  and  LO  wanted  to  condemn  the  OCI  but 
refused  to  characterize  Varga's  attitude;  the  SWP,  by  way 
of  contrast,  was  more  than  willing  to  characterize  Varga, 
but  refused  to  condemn  the  OCI.  Caught  in  a  bind,  the 
Commission  rejected  the  conclusions  drafted  by  the  iSt, 


and  called  instead  on  the  SWP  reformists  to  write  the  most 
innocuous  conclusions  possible.  Though  the  LCR  might 
have  preferred  to  condemn  the  OCI,  it  refused  to  break 
with  its  partner  in  the  USec  rotten  bloc. 

Seizing  the  pretext  that  the  conclusions  did  not 
characterize  the  OCI's  accusations  against  Varga  as  false 
because  unproved,  LO  refused  to  sign  the  conclusions.  The 
iSt,  on  the  other  hand,  agreed  to  sign  the  Commission's 
conclusions  on  the  condition  that  an  appended  iSt 
statement  be  published  with  them.  While  the  conclusions 
represented  the  absolute  minimum  of  what  had  been 
established  by  the  Commission,  the  iSt  signed  them  in  the 
interest  of  arriving  at  clear  and  authoritative  conclusions. 
LO's  refusal  to  sign— under  an  obvious  pretext— can  only 
undermine  the  Commission's  authority  and  thus  lessen  the 
impact  of  the  very  conclusions  which  LO  claims  to  support. 

All  these  petty  and  factionally  motivated  maneuvers 
stand  in  complete  contradiction  with  the  methods  and 
traditions  established  by  the  Dewey  Commission.  While 
maintaining  a  sense  of  historical  proportion,  we  must  recall 
that  Trotsky  strongly  insisted  that — since  the  Dewey 
Commission  had  amassed  sufficient  proofs  to  show  that 
Trotsky  and  Sedov  were  not  guilty — it  was  both  just  and 
necessary  to  take  one  step  further  and  accept  the  moral  and 
political  responsibility  for  drawing  the  conclusion  that  the 
Moscow  Trials  were  frame-ups. 

In  opposition  to  all  the  other  organizations  participating 
in  the  Commission,  the  iSt  assumes  this  responsibility  in 
drawing  a  two-sided  conclusion:  since  the  OCI  has  adduced 
no  sufficient  proof  to  back  up  its  accusations  against 
Varga,  these  accusations  must  be  characterized  as  false  and 
therefore  lying  and  slanderous.  The  OCI's  practice  of 
violence  against  the  Vargaites  is  therefore  shown  to  be 
drawn  from  the  Stalinist  arsenal.  On  the  other  hand, 
Varga's  refusal  to  explain  himself — his  past  and  the  content 
of  his  letters — shows  him  to  be  a  shady  character,  a  "highly 
dubious"  figure.  ^ 

\ 

INTERNATIONAL  SPARTACIST 
TENDENCY  DIRECTORY 

LIGUE  TROTSKYSTE  DE  FRANCE 

Pascal  Alessandri 

B.P.  336,  75011  Paris 
LONDON  SPARTACIST  GROUP 

BCM  Box  4272 

London,  WC1V  6XX 
SPARTACIST  LEAGUE  OF 

AUSTRALIA/NEW  ZEALAND  ,  . 

GPO  Box  3473 

Sydney,  NSW,  2001,  Australia 
SPARTACIST  LEAGUE/U.S. 

Box  1377,  GPO 

New  York,  NY  10001 
TROTSKYIST  LEAGUE  OF  CANADA 

Box  7198,  Station  A 

Toronto,  Ontario 
TROTZKISTISCHE  LIGA  DEUTSCHLANDS 

Postfach  11  0647 

1  Berlin  11 


AUTUMN  1977 


29 


Conclusions  of  the  Commission  of 
Inquiry  into  the  Varga  Affair 


—reprinted  from  Workers  Vanguard  No.  165, 
8  July  1977 

Michel  Varga  (the  political  pseudonym  used  by  Balasz 
Nagy)  is  today  the  main  leader  of  the  Ligue  Internationale 
de  Reconstruction  de  la  Quatrieme  Internationale  (Inter- 
national League  Reconstructing  the  Fourth  Internation- 
al— LIRQI),  which  now  simply  proclaims  itself  the 
"Fourth  International."  After  the  1956  uprising  in 
Hungary  he  emigrated  to  West  Europe  and,  in  the  late 
1950's,  became  a  founder  of  the  "Imre  Nagy  Institute  of 
Political  Science"  and  of  its  journal.  Etudes.  The  purpose 
of  this  institute,  as  Varga  presented  it  in  1958,  was  to 
analyze  problems  of  socialism,  particularly  the  problems  of 
Hungary  from  1948  to  1956.  For  these  projects  Varga 
entered  into  contact  with  various  groups  and  individuals  in 
the  workers  movement. 

In  1961  Michel  Varga  broke  with  the  Institute  and  the 
journal.  In  1962  he  joined  the  Organisation  Communiste 
Internationaliste  (OCI).  Toward  the  end  of  1972  a  split 
occurred  between  a  group  led  by  Varga  and  the  OCI.  The 
group  founded  by  Varga  first  took  the  name  OCI-LIRQI 
Faction. 

In  1973  the  OCI  published  material  (translated  from 
Hungarian)  excerpted  from  Varga's  archives  which  it  had 
obtained.  This  material  dealt  with  the  period  of  1957-1960, 
and  the  excerpts  published  by  the  OCI  are  mostly  parts  of 
Varga's  correspondence.  On  the  basis  of  these  excerpts,  the 
OCI  accused  Varga  of  being  an  agent  of  the  CIA  and  the 
KGB. 

On  27  March  1976  the  Ligue  Communiste  Revolution- 
naire,  Lutte  Ouvriere,  Socialist  Workers  Party  USA,  the 
international  Spartacist  tendency  and  the  Workers 
Socialist  League  (Great  Britain)  decided  to  form  a 
Commission  of  Inquiry  on  the  basis  of  the  following 
declaration: 

"Some  time  ago,  the  Organisation  Communiste  Internatio- 
naliste (OCI)  put  forth  certain  accusations,  asserting  that 
Balasz  Nagy,  known  as  Michel  Varga,  was  an  'agent  paid  by 
the  CIA'  and  *a  GPU  provocateur.'  The  leaders  of  the  LI  RQI, 
the  organization  of  which  Michel  Varga  is  a  member,  have 
called  for  a  'workers  commission  of  inquiry'  to  take  a 
position  on  'the  campaign  of  unfounded  accusations 
launched  by  the  OCI  leadership'  as  well  as  on  'the  extension 
of  these  accusations  to  the  International  League  [LIRQI]  as 
such,  going  as  far  as  repeated  physical  attacks  upon  militants 
of  the  OCI-LIRQI  faction  [the  French  LIRQI  group],  in 
particular  during  the  joint  demonstrations  against  Franco- 
ism  and  the  leafletting  outside  the  meeting  to  free  Soviet 
mathematician  Leonid  Plyushch.' 

"We  consider  that  such  accusations  against  a  militant  or  an 
organization  are  sufficiently  serious  that  it  is  incumbent 
upon  the  entire  revolutionary  movement  to  determine 
whether  or  not  they  are  justified.  That  is  why  we  have  decided 
to  constitute  ourselves  as  a  Commission  of  Inquiry  for  the 
purpose  of  inviting  the  OCI  leadership  to  present  all  evidence 
it  claims  to  possess,  and  in  order  to  request  all  those  who 
could  furnish  evidence  concerning  this  matter  to  come  and 
testify. 

"The  Commission's  goal  is  a  scrupulous  verification  of  the 
facts  and  documents,  which  it  will  make  public.  In  order  for 


this  verification  to  take  place  with  the  greatest  possible 
authority,  it  invites  all  organizations  claiming  adherence  to 
the  revolutionary  workers  movement  to  participate  actively 
in  its  deliberations." 

— signed  by  representatives  of: 
Lutte  Ouvriere 

Ligue  Communiste  Revolutionnaire 
Socialist  Workers  Party 
international  Spartacist  tendency 
Workers  Socialist  League  ' 

After  a  year  of  proceedings,  the  Commission  of  Inquiry 
now  feels  that  it  has  come  to  its  end.  It  has  recorded 
testimony  and  sought  to  verify  it  to  the  degree  possible. 

For  practical  reasons,  the  representative  of  the  Workers 
Socialist  League  was  unable  to  participate  regularly  in  the 
Commission's  work.  Five  persons  participated  regularly: 
Andre  Frys  (LO),  Andre  Roussel  (LO),  Gus  Horowitz 
(SWP),  Georges  Marion  (LCR)  and  Jean  Lesueur  (iSt). 
This  report  is  made  by  the  following  three  participants  in 
the  Commission  of  Inquiry:  Gus  Horowitz  (SWP),  Jean 
Lesueur  (iSt),  Georges  Marion  (LCR). 

I   Preliminary  Conclusions 

The  members  of  the  Commission  of  Inquiry,  at  the  end 
of  their  proceedings,  wish  to  formulate  the  following 
preliminary  observations  dealing  with  the  ongoing  devel- 
opment of  the  inquiry  itself. 

1)  On  two  occasions  members  of  the  OC} — first  Claude 
Chisserey  and  Gerard  Bloch,  then  Pierre  Lambert— agreed 
to  answer  the  Commission's  questions.  But  numerous 
letters  and  requests  by  the  Commission  of  Inquiry  for 
testimony  from  other  members  of  the  OCI  remain 
unanswered  by  the  OCI.  Pierre  Lambert,  for  one,  stated 
concerning  this  matter:  "We  will  not  allow  the  Commission 
of  Inquiry  to  investigate  inside  the  OCI.  The  goal  of  your 
Commission  is  to  state  whether  the  documents  produced 
by  the  OCI  are  authentic  or  not."  Concerning  the  use  of 
violence  by  members  of  the  OCI  against  the  LIRQI, 
subsequently  the  LOR  [Revolutionary  Workers  League] 
(name  adopted  by  the  French  section  of  the  LIRQI),  the 
OCI  representatives  denied  this,  or  refused  to  reply. 

2)  It  was  at  the  request  of  the  LIRQI  that  the 
organizations  making  up  the  Commission  of  Inquiry 
decided  to  form  it.  But  the  LIRQI  demanded  that  the 
Commission  of  Inquiry  be  formed  on  the  basis  of  an 
a  priori  recognition  that  the  OCTs  accusations  were 
slanders.  Seeing  that  the  organizations  in  question  did  not 
share  its  point  of  view,  the  LIRQI  then  formed  its  own 
commission  of  inquiry,  the  "Commission  of  Inquiry 
against  the  Slanders  about  Michel  Varga,"  of  which  it  is  in 
fact  the  only  member.  Subsequently,  on  one  occasion, 
LIRQI  members  agreed  to  testify  before  the  Commission 
on  the  question  of  the[OCrs]  use  of  violence.  Rejecting  the 

continued  on  next  page 


30 


SPARTACIST 


Conclusions  on  Varga  Affair . . . 

(continued  from  page  29) 

Commission  in  advance  as  a  "maneuver,"  Michel  Varga 
explicitly  refused  any  collaboration  with  the  Commission. 

II    Basic  Conclusions 

Despite  the  attitude  of  the  OCI  and  the  LOR  toward  the 
Commission  of  Inquiry,  the  undersigned  members  of  it 
have  arrived  at  the  following  conclusions,  which  they  share 
in  common: 

1)  Was  Varga  a  KGB  agent? 

The  OCI  has  not  furnished  any  evidence  proving  that 
Michel  Varga  had  relations  with  the  KGB  or  the  Soviet 
government.  According  to  the  words  of  the  OCI  leaders 
themselves,  this  accusation  is  based  solely  on  "political 
reasoning." 

According  to  the  Commission,  this  accusation  is 
therefore  unproved. 

2)  Was  Varga  a  CIA  agent? 

In  order  to  assert  this,  the  OCI  bases  itself  mainly  on  the 
"Varga  archives"  relating  to  the  period  1957-1960. 

These  archives  show  that  during  this  period,  after  leaving 
Hungary  and  before  joining  the  OCI,  Michel  Varga  sought 
financial  support  from  many  sources,  including  sources 
close  to  the  American  government,  the  [U.S.]  State 
Department  or  the  Free  Europe  Committee,  in  order  to 
finance  the  Imre  Nagy  Institute.  The  archives  show  that  he 
actively  sought  this  money,  knowing  full  well  what  he  was 
doing  and  attempting  to  hide  the  source  of  the  money. 

But  these  archives  do  not  prove  that  at  this  time  Varga 
was  a  CIA  agent.  They  do  not  prove  that  Varga  was  a  CIA 
agent  after  he  joined  the  ranks  of  the  OCI  in  1962,  nor  that 
he  had  contact  with  the  CIA  during  this  period. 

According  to  the  Commission,  the  accusation  that  he 
belonged  to  the  CIA  is  therefore  unproved. 

3)  Did  the  OCI  know  of  Varga's  past  before  accepting 
him  in  its  ranks? 

There  are  no  documents  which  make  it  possible  to 
answer  this  question. 

•  In  the  LIRQI's  publications,  Michel  Varga  has  asserted 
that  the  OCI  was  fully  informed  about  his  past  before  he 
joined  its  ranks.  But  Michel  Varga  refused  to  give  his 
testimony  to  the  Commission. 

•  As  for  the  OCI,  it  has  reasserted  that  it  did  not  know  of 
Varga's  past  as  it  appears  in  light  of  the  archives.  Pierre 
Lambert  repeated  this  in  his  testimony  before  the 
Commission  of  Inquiry. 

•  The  Commission  also  heard  the  testimony  of  Albi  and 
Kaldy,  two  Hungarian  militants  presently  members  of  the 
LCR  and  LO  respectively,  who  worked  with  Varga  after 
1962  in  his  Hungarian  Trotskyist  organization,  the  LRSH 
[Revolutionary  League  of  Hungarian  Socialists].  Accord- 
ing to  their  statements,  the  OCI  was  in  possession  of 
sufficient  information  about  Varga's  past  to  have  warrant- 
ed suspicion  concerning  the  source  of  financing  for  the 
Imre  Nagy  Institute.  However,  Pierre  Lambert  testified 
that  in  1962  the  OCI  had  no  grounds  for  such  suspicion. 

•  Two  OCI  leaders,  Pierre  Broue  and  Jean-Jacques  Marie, 
collaborated  with  the  journal  edited  by  the  Imre  Nagy 
Institute,  Etudes,  on  several  occasions  prior  to  1962.  They 
therefore  at  least  knew  of  the  Institute's  existence.  But  the 
Commission  was  unable  to  hear  their  testimony  concerning 


the  extent  of  their  knowledge  of  the  Institute  in  this  period, 
due  to  the  OCI's  refusal  [to  allow  them  to  testify].  For  the 
same  reason  it  was  unable  to  hear  testimony  from  Roger 
Monnier,  the  OCI  member  with  whom  Varga  had 
deposited  his  archives. 

The  Commission  is  therefore  not  in  a  position  to  know 
whether  the  OCI  learned  about  the  archives  only  in  1973. 

4)  The  use  of  violence. 

The  Commission  heard  testimony  indicating  that  on 
several  occasions  the  OCI  has  used  violence  against  LIRQI 
members  in  order  to  prevent  them  from  distributing  their 
press,  and  not  in  self-defense.  This  testimony  comes  from 
different  individuals  and  different  organizations. 

The  Commission  is  therefore  convinced  that  these 
attacks  did  indeed  take  place.  It  is  inadmissible  for  an 
organization  in  the  workers  movement  to  act  in  this 
fashion,  and  this  must  stop. 


The  Commission  of  Inquiry's  minutes  are  public  in 
nature,  before  the  entire  working-class  movement,  in  order 
to  allow  all  working-class  militants  who  may  so  desire  to 
form  their  own  opinion.  The  Commission  makes  the  entire 
workers  movement  judge  of  the  "Varga  affair"  and  of  the 
attitude  adopted  by  its  protagonists. 

Paris,  29  May  1977 

signed  by: 

Gus  Horowitz  (Socialist  Workers  Party) 

Jean  Lesueur  (international  Spartacist  tendency)* 

Georges  Marion  (Ligue  Communiste  Revolutionnaire) 

*  The  international  Spartacist  tendency  wishes  to  note  that  it 
votes  in  favor  of  these  conclusions  with  the  following 
reservations,  whose  reproduction  constitutes  a  condition  to 
signing  the  conclusions: 

1 )  The  OCI's  unproved  accusations  must  be  characterized  as 
slanders;  f 

2)  Varga's  current  attitude,  namely  to  refuse  to  shed  light  on 
his  past,  must  lead  to  characterizing  him  as  a  suspicious  and 
highly  dubious  individual; 

3)  The  OCI's  use  of  violence  against  Varga's  supporters  must 
be  characterized  as  deriving  from  Stalinist  methods. 


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LOCAL  DIRECTORY 

BERKELEY/OAKLAND  (415)  835-1535 

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AUTUMN  1977 


31 


Draft  Conclusions  on  the  Varga  Affair 
Submitted  by  the  iSt 


—reprinted  from  Workers  Vanguard  No.  165, 
8  July  1977 

The  Commission  of  Inquiry  was  formed  by  Lutte 
Ouvriere,  the  Ligue  Communiste  Revolutionnaire,  the 
SociaHst  Workers  Party  and  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency,  with  the  sole  aim  of  arriving  at  conclusions  about 
the  "Varga  affair."  Although  composed  of  organizations 
otherwise  having  serious  political  differences  among 
themselves,  the  Commission  is  united  in  its  determination 
to  safeguard  the  workers  movement  against  the  alien 
practices  of  violence  and  slander  and  to  denounce  such 
practices  whenever  they  may  occur,  thereby  rejecting  any 
attempt  to  turn  it  into  the  tool  of  any  political  alliance  or 
regroupment. 

On  the  basis  of  testimony  and  documents  presented  to  it, 
the  Commission  of  Inquiry  has  arrived  at  the  following 
conclusions: 

1 .  The  Commission  notes  that,  although  representatives 
of  the  OCI  twice  appeared  before  it,  the  OCl  in  fact  refused 
to  collaborate  with  the  Commission  of  Inquiry,  above  all 
by  not  turning  over  to  it  the  entire  documentation  at  its 
disposal;  and  by  refusing  to  allow  testimony  from  its 
members  who,  based  on  their  own  experience,  could  have 
answered  the  Commission's  questions — on  the  pretext  that 
the  Commission  should  limit  itself  to  stating  whether  or  not 
the  documents  presented  by  the  OCl  were  authentic  or  not. 

2.  The  Commission  also  denounces  the  attitude  of  the 
LIRQI  and  its  organizations  toward  the  Commission. 
With  the  failure  of  the  LIRQI's  attempts  to  prevent  the 
creation  of  an  independent  Commission  of  Inquiry  in  the 
best  traditions  of  the  workers  movement — in  particular 
that  represented  by  the  Dewey  Commission— the  LIRQI 
set  up  a  so-called  "impartial"  commission  composed 
overwhelmingly  of  its  own  organizations!  The  LIRQI's 
slanders  of  the  Commission,  which  it  terms  "Lambertist 
agents,"  merely  show  its  impotent  fury  following  the 
refusal  by  the  organizations  which  formed  the  Commission 
to  cover  for  its  maneuvers. 

3.  The  OCI  did  not  present  any  sufficient  proof  to 
demonstrate  the  correctness  of  its  accusations  against 
Balasz  Nagy,  known  as  Michel  Varga;  namely  that  Michel 
Varga  was  supposedly  a  paid  agent  of  the  CIA  and  KGB. 
Moreover,  the  OCl  dishonestly  manipulated  the  quota- 
tions it  extracted  from  Varga's  letters.  The  testimony, 
documents  and  information  gathered  by  the  Commission 
lead  to  the  conclusion  that  these  accusations  can  only  be 
considered  false,  and  therefore  lying  and  slanderous. 

4.  It  goes  without  saying  that  the  Commission  of  Inquiry 
condemns  the  OCI's  procedures,  which  are  of  a  Stalinist 
nature.  The  OCl  may  have  been  familiar  with  the  "Varga 
archives."  It  is  quite  probable  that  it  at  least  knew  of  their 
existence.  The  OCI  therefore  had  a  special  responsibility  to 
try  to  examine  these  archives,  given  the  central  importance 
of  a  complete  and  unambiguous  break  with  imperialism  on 
the  part  of  those  who  claim  to  have  broken  with  the 
Stalinist  bureaucracies  in  Eastern  Europe  and  the  USSR. 
Thus  the  OCI  chose  to  launch  a  slanderous  campaign. 


whose  sole  aim  was  to  intimidate  and  discredit  Varga,  only 
after  his  political  differences  with  the  OCl  appeared. 

5.  The  Commission  condemns  the  scandalous  light- 
mindedness  of  Michel  Varga,  who  refused  to  appear  before 
it  or  to  make  any  deposition.  He  has  thereby  refused  to 
clarify  his  present  position  vis-a-vis  his  past  activities. 
Consequently,  the  Commission  can  only  notfe  the  fact  that 
between  1957  and  1960-61  Varga  consciously  solicited 
funds  from  sources  functioning  as  agents  of  American 
imperialism,  and  even  from  the  U.S.  State  Department. 
And  although  Varga  himself  publicly  admitted  having 
undertaken  consciously  anti-communist  activities  in  order 
to  "combat  Marxism,"  he  has  never  explained — nor  has  he 
explicitly  renounced — certain  formulations  to  be  found  in 
his  letters  at  that  time,  which  enable  us  to  characterize  his 
attitudes  as  anti-Semitic  and  racist.  Varga  therefore 
appears  as  a  highly  dubious  figure. 

6.  According  to  depositions  taken  by  the  Commission  of 
Inquiry,  the  OCl  has  for  a  long  time  practiced  violence 
against  competing  organizations  in  the  workers  movement. 
The  OCl  simply  used  its  unfounded  accusations  against 
Varga  as  a  pretext — following  the  emergence  of  political 
differences — to  physically  attack  members  of  organiza- 
tions which  included  Varga.  The  Commission  vigorously 
condemns  the  OCl  for  its  slanders  and  its  violence  of  a 
purely  Stalinist  sort,  alien  to  the  best  practices  of  the 
workers  movement. 

In  addition,  the  fact  that  the  LIRQI  invoked  bourgeois 
justice  against  members  of  the  OCl  demonstrates  that 
despite  its  protestations,  it  does  not  fundamentally  differ 
from  the  OCl  on  the  question  of  workers  democracy. 

[Paris,  December  1976] 


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32 


SPARTACIST 


AUTUMN  1977 


Varqa  Commission  Finishes  Work 

OCI  Slanders  the  Dubious  Varga 


7776"  following  article  is  adapted  from  the  introduction  to  a 
French-language  bulletin  of  documents  relating  to  the 
Commission  of  Inquiry  into  the  "  Varga  affair"  recently 
published  by  the  Ligue  Trotskyste  de  France,  sympathizing 
section  of  the  international  Spartacist  tendency  (iSt). 

By  reprinting  materials  published  in  Workers  Vanguard 
and  Spartacist  (edition  fran<;aise)  over  the  past  two  and  a 
half  years,  Documents  sur  "I'affaire  Varga"  documents  the 
struggle  waged  by  the  iSt  for  a  genuinely  impartial 
commission  of  inquiry  into  the  serious  charges  leveled 
against  Michel  Varga  by  the  Organisation  Communiste 
Internationaliste  (OCI). 

It  includes  the  statement  of  the  iSt  to  the  cover-up 
"commission"  created  by  the  Vargaites  (see  Workers  Van- 
guard No.  85,  14  November  1975):  correspondence  regard- 
ing the  formation  of  the  Commission  of  Inquiry:  exchanges 
between  its  members  and  the  Vargaites  documenting  Var- 
gas refusal  to  testify  before  the  Commission:  excerpts  from 
testimony  to  the  Commission  by  Pierre  Lambert  of  the  OCI, 
Franco  Grisolia  and  several  former  members  of  the  Vargaite 
organization:  a  list  of  documents  and  testimony  received  by 
the  Commission:  and  the  concluding  report  of  the  Commis- 
sion as  wellas  draft  conclusions  submitted  by  the  iSt,  both  of 
which  are  also  reprinted  below. 

The  bulletin  may  he  ordered  from  Pascal  Alessandri, 
B.P.  336  .  75011  Paris.  France,  or  from  Spartacist 
Publishing  Co..  Box  1377.  G PO.  New  York.  N.  Y.  WOOL 

The  documents  reproduced  in  this  bulletin  testify  tQthe 
struggle  by  the  international  Spartacist  tendency  (iSt)  to 
construct,  and  then  to  carry  through  to  a  conclusion,  the 
work  of  a  commission  of  inquiry  to  investigate  the  "Varga 
affair."  They  document  efforts  by  the  Organisation 
Communiste  Internationaliste  (OCI)  and  the  Vargaite 
group  (LIRQl,  which  now  styles  itself  the  "Fourth 
International")  first  to  block  even  the  existence  of  an 
impartial  commission  in  the  tradition  of  the  Dewey 
commission  of  inquiry  into  the  Moscow  Trials,  and  then  to 
create  obstacles  to  the  Commission's  work.  And  they  reveal 
the  equivocations  of  the  other  organizations — the  Ligue 
Communiste  Revolutionnaire  (LCR),  LutteOuvriere(LO) 
and  the  American  Socialist  Workers  Party  (SWP)— which 
participated  in  the  Commission. 

Origins  of  the  Commission 

Although  increasingly  sharp  political  differences 
separated  the  OCI  and  Varga  since  at  least  September  1972, 
it  was  not  until  the  end  of  June  1973,  after  the  "discovery" 
of  Varga's  archives  around  May  1973,  that  the  OCI 
publicly  accused  Varga — falsely,  as  the  Commission 
established  -of  being  an  agent  of  the  Stalinist  secret  police 
(Informations  Ouvrieres,  27  June  1973)  and,  later,  of  the 
CIA  as  well.  It  subsequently  took  more  than  six  months  for 


the  OCI  to  state  that  working-class  organizations  could 
examine  these  archives,  and  it  was  not  until  March  1974 
that  a  pamphlet  announced  in  the  first  lO  article  finally 
appeared. 

The  "Varga  affair"  went  hand  in  hand  with  a  very  rapid 
right  turn  of  the  OCI,  expressed  above  all  by  its 
capitulation  before  the  popular  front  in  the  1973  and  1974 
elections,  as  well  as  its  rapprochement,  beginning  in  early 
1973,  with  the  reformist  SWP.  In  a  centrist  organization 
such  as  the  OCI,  the  formation  of  a  left  tendency  opposing 
the  leadership's  right  turn  might  have  been  expected.  And 
in  fact  wobbles  showed  up  in  lO  which  looked  like  the 
stirrings  of  left  oppositionists  in  the  OCI.  But  the  "Varga 
affair"  cut  short  any  potential  crystallization  of  a  serious 
left  tendency  in  the  OCI.  Just  as  the  Vargaites  cynically 
sought  to  take  up  positions  to  the  left  of  the  OCI,  so  too  the 
OCI  took  advantage  of  its  accusations  against  Varga  to  seal 
off  anything  resembling  an  opposition.  It  was  obvious  that 
at  the  outset  the  OCI  was  counting  on  the  disinterest  of  the 

continued  on  page  26 


SPARTAOST 


NUMBER  25 


SUMMER  1978 


50  CENTS 


SL  Confronts  USec  Leader  on  U.S-Tour 

Ernest  Mandel: 
A  Centrist  For 
All  Seasons 


An  abbreviated  version  of  this  article  was  distributed  at  a 
meeting  in  New  York  on  May  4  where  Mandel  spoke  on  the 
world  economic  crisis.  For  an  account  of  this  meeting  see 
"Mandel  Weasels  on  Pop  Front,"  Workers  Vanguard  No. 
205.  12  Mav  1978. 


Ernest  Mandel  is  a  world-class  left-wing  academic,  jet- 
setting  from  continent  to  continent  to  give  lectures  and 
interviews,  a  prolific  author  of  books  and  articles,  a  "star" 
whose  views  are  eagerly  sought  by  trendy  publications  and 
even  the  most  stuffy  bourgeois  newspapers  and  journals  of 
opinion.  He  is  perhaps  the  best-known  of  the  fraternity  of 
economists  who  claim  the  Marxist  tradition,  and  much 
closer  to  orthodox  Leninism  than  a  Sweezy  or  Bettelheim. 
He  is,  finally,  the  very  image  of  an  engage  intellectual, 
darting  from  classrooms  at  Louvain  or  Berlin's  "Free 
University"  to  meetings  of  the  "United  Secretariat  of  the 
Fourth  International"  of  which  he  is  the  principal 
spokesman,  to  conferences  with  planning  officials  in 
Havana.  To  the  mass  media  and  imperialist  governments 
Ernest  Mandel  is  the  embodiment  of  the  "Trotskyite 
menace,"  a  bete  noir  to  be  stopped  at  borders  by  secret 
police  or  excluded  by  McCarthyite  legislation. 

Leaving  aside  the  periodic  reactionary  hysteria  about  a 
"terrorist  Fourth  International,"  Mandel  enjoys  a  positive 
reputation  across  an  amazingly  broad  spectrum,  ranging 
from  out-and-out  liberals  to  unblushing  Stalinists.  This 
contrasts  so  sharply  with  the  opprobrium  and  persecution 
directed  against  Leon  Trotsky  and  the  Fourth  Internation- 
alist communists  of  his  day  that  one  is  moved  to  ask  why. 
If  this  man  is  the  irreconcilable  opponent  of  all  existing  re- 
gimes of  class  rule  or  bureaucratic  oppression  on  the  plan- 
et, the  resolute  defender  of  authentic  Marxism  and  Lenin- 
ism against  every  hue  of  revisionism,  a  fiery  denouncer 
of  those  who  betray  the  cause  of  the  proletariat — then  why 

continued  on  page  2 


Spartacist 

Ernest  Mandel  speaking  in  New  York  City  on  May  4. 


"Radical  Egalitarian" 
Stalinism:  A  Post 
Mortem  6 

Swedish  USec  Face  to  Face 
with  Trotskyism  32 


2 


SPARTACIST 


Mandel... 

isn't  he  universally  hated?  The  answer  is  simple:  Ernest 
Mandel  is  not  a  Trotsky ist  but  an  impostor.  Anybody  who 
c  ame  to  hear  a  genuine  Bolshevik- Leninist  should  ask  for 
his  money  back. 

In  reality,  although  he  knows  quite  well  what  Bolshevik 
intransigence  is  and  can  write  an  orthodox  polemic  as 
facilely  as  he  churns  out  opportunist  apologetics,  for  the 
last  quarter  century  Mandel  has  fought  against  a  Trotskyist 
perspective  and  program  at  every  crucial  juncture.  He  has 
employed  his  agile  mind  and  his  impressive  erudition  to 
dream  up  revisionist  "theoretical"  cover  for  every  petty- 
bourgeois  radical  opportunist  craze:  student  power, 
peasant-guerrilla  "armed  struggle,"  popular  frontism.  In 
the  1 960's  when  "student  power"  was  in  its  heyday  he  joined 
right  in  the  New  Left  fad.  Rather  than  emphasizing  that  the 
proletariat  was  still  the  key,  he  wrote  that  the  workers' 
struggles  had  been  bought  off  under  "neocapitalism,"  and 
his  supporters  advocated  a  program  for  "red  universities." 
When  "Che"  Guevara  was  a  cult  hero  on  the  campuses 
Mandel,  far  from  insisting  on  the  need  for  a  Leninist 
proletarian  vanguard  party  to  lead  the  struggles  of  the 
working  masses,  became  an  armchair  guerrillero  and 
ordered  his  followers  to  join  Castro's  guerrillaist  "Interna- 
tional," the  stillborn  OLAS. 

Today  he  is  again  chasing  after  the  latest  fashionable 
trends  in  Europe:  popular  frontism  and  Eurocommunism. 
Where  Trotsky  called  proletarian  opposition  to  the 
Popular  Front  the  key  to  revolutionary  strategy  in  this 
epoch  and  "the  best  criterion  for  the  difference  between 
Bolshevism  and  Menshevism,"  Mandelites  in  France 
refused  to  label  the  Union  of  the  Left  a  popular  front  and, 
fearful  of  "isolation,"  followed  the  masses  in  voting  for  its 
candidates.  And  while  the  Eurocommunists  are  caught  up 
in  Jimmy  Carter's  anti-Soviet  "human  rights"  campaign, 
Mandel  says  he  has  "hopes  and  confidence"  that  inveterate 
reformist  traitors  like  Spanish  CP  leader  Carrillo— who 
crossed  a  picket  line  at  Yale  to  demonstrate  his  apprecia- 
tion to  the  State  Department  for  letting  him  visit 


SPARTAOST 

(Fourth  Internationalist) 
An  Organ  of  Revolutionary  Marxism 

EDITORIAL  BOARD;  Charles  O'Brien  (managing),  Elizabeth  Gordon, 
William  Logan,  James  Robertson,  Joseph  Seymour,  John  Sharps, 
David  Strachan 

PRODUCTION  MANAGERS:    Darlene  Kamiura,  Ron  Wallace 
CIRCULATION  MANAGER:  Mike  Beech 

Published  for  the  Interim  Secretariat  of  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency,  in  accord  with  the  "Declaration  for  the  Organizing  of  an 
International  Trotskyist  Tendency,"  by  the  Spartacist  Publishing 
Company,  Box  1377,  GPO,  New  York,  N.Y.  10001. 
Telephone:  966-6841. 

Opinions  expressed  in  signed  articles  or  letters  do  not  necessarily 
express  the  editorial  viewpoint. 


Number  25  f^-t  xsaa         Summer  1978 


America — "will  return  to  the  path  of  revolutionary 
Marxism"! 

Even  people  who  are  relatively  unacquainted  with 
Trotskyism  can  easily  see  that  such  a  man  has  nothing  to  do 
with  the  heroic  Left  Oppositionists  whose  leader  was  slain 
on  Stalin's  orders  in  1940.  For  if  student  power  sponta- 
neists,  Guevarist  guerrillaists  and  the  popular  front  can 
lead  the  revolutionary  struggle,  then  who  needs  Trotskyist 
parties?  In  fact,  if  the  Stalinist  reformists  of  the  Spanish  CP 
can  "return"  to  revolutionary  Marxism,  then  Trotsky  was 
dead  wrong  in  writing  off  the  Comintern  as  definitively 
gone  over  to  the  side  of  the  bourgeoisie  after  Stalin  allowed 
Hitler  to  march  to  power  unhindered  in  1933.  Then  the 
founding  of  the  Fourth  International  five  years  later  was,  at 
best,  a  terrible  mistake. 

"The  Many  Faces  and  Long  Waves  of  Ernest 
Mandel" 

In  New  York  Mandel  will  be  speaking  on  the  world 
economic  crisis.  It  is  on  the  subject  of  economics  that  he  has 
gained  renown  as  a  popularizer  and  interpreter  of  Marx  in 
the  period  of  monopoly  capitalism.  His  textbook,  Marxist 
Economic  Theory,  is  the  most  widely  read  volume  of  its 
kind,  and  Mandel  has  a  certain  aura  of  theoretical 
innovation,  such  as  his  rediscovery  (elaborated  in  his  book 
Late  Capitalism)  of  the  "long  wave"  theories  of  the  Russian 
economist  Kondratiev.  He  often  appears  to  be  orthodox 
compared  to  other  pseudo-Marxist  economists,  such  as 
Paul  Sweezy  who  distorts  the  labor  theory  of  value  to 
justify  his  New  Left  theory  of  a  crisis-free  monopoly 
capitalism;  or  Charles  Bettelheim,  who  has  to  redefine 
capitalism  in  order  to  justify  the  Maoist  dogma  that  the 
USSR  is  "social-imperialist."  But  in  reality,  Mandel's 
economic  writings  are  stepchildren  to  his  political 
appetites,  the  purest  impressionism  dressed  up  in  Marxoid 
jargon. 

To  take  but  one  example,  just  why  did  our  "theoretician" 
come  up  with  Kondratiev  "long  waves"?  (His  contention  is 
that  the  period  between  1945  and  1966  was  a  "long  post- 
war phase  of  rapid  growth,"  during  which  supposedly 
effective  countercyclical  capitalist  state  policies  made  the 
recurrence  of  a  1929-style  crash  impossible.  In  contrast,  we 
are— according  to  his  view— currently  in  a  long-term 
downturn  in  which  the  economic  struggles  of  labor  run  up 
against  the  bosses'  profit  greed.)  To  begin  with,  Mandel  has 
no  economic  data  to  back  up  his  contentions:  none  are 
available  in  the  19th  century,  he  deliberately  ignores- the 
mid-  and  late-1920's  boom  to  show  the  entire  interwar 
period  as  a  down  wave,  and  the  "post-war  boom"  is  a 
myth — being  quite  uneven  internationally,  with  plenty  of 
ups  and  downs. 

No,  the  origin  of  Mandel's  long  wave  theory  is  political, 
not  economic.  It  is  a  dishonest,  objectivist  mea^s  of 
excusing  the  fact  that  during  the  1960's  he  wrote  off  the 
working  class  of  the  imperialist  countries  as  a  revolutiona- 
ry force.  At  that  time  he  did  not  refer  to  "late  capitalism" 
but  "neocapitalism"  based  on  the  "third  industrial 
revolution"  of  automation  and  nuclear  power.  In  his 
brochure.  An  Introduction  to  Marxist  Economic  Theory, 
Mandel  states  that:  "The  neo-capitalist  phase  which  we  are 
now  witnessing,  is  that  of  a  long  term  expansion  of 

capitalism  "  This  directly  contradicts  the  Leninist  thesis 

that  the  imperialist  epoch  is  that  of  the  f^eco  v  of  productive 


SUMMER  1978 


3 


forces — "the  death  agony  of  capitalism"  as  Trotsky  put  it  in 
the  title  of  the  founding  program  of  the  Fourth 
International. 

And  what  are  the  implications  of  this  long-term 
expansion?  Mandel  writes: 

"The  long  term  cycle  which  began  with  the  Second  World 
War,  and  in  which  we  still  remain. .. has,  on  the  contrary, 
been  characterized  by  expansion,  and  because  of  this 
expansion  the  margin  for  negotiation  and  discussion 
between  the  bourgeoisie  and  the  working  class  has  been 
enlarged.  The  possibility  has  been  created  for  strengthening 
the  system  on  the  basis  of  granting  concessions  to  the 
workers. .. close  collaboration  between  an  expansive  bour- 
geoisie and  the  conservative  forces  of  the  labor  movement 
and  is  fundamentally  sustained  by  a  rising  trend  in  the 
standard  of  living  of  the  workers." 

— An  Introduction  to  Marxist  Economic  Theory 

Try  presenting  that  line  to  the  petty-bourgeois  radical 
milieu  today!  Mandel  would  be  laughed  off  the  stage.  But 
at  the  time  this  was  a  popular  theme  of  all  the  "new  working 
class"  theories  and,  as  always,  our  "Marxist"  economist 
picked  up  what  was  in  vogue  and  elaborated  a  theory  to  fit 
the  superficial  impression. 

As  for  the  bosses'  willingness  to  "buy  off"  the  workers,  it 
suffices  to  recall  the  brutality  with  which  the  American 
bourgeoisie  beat  down  the  1959  steel  strike  to  expose  this 
claim. 

But  Mandel's  theory  is  more  than  a  distortion  of  the 
facts:  it  is  an  excuse  for  betrayal.  The  most  concrete  case  is 
his  own  treacherous  behavior  in  the  1960-61  Belgian 
general  strike  (an  event  which  according  to  his  schema  of 
"neocapitalism"  should  never  have  occurred).  Mandel  was 
editor  of  a  newspaper,  Lm  Gauche,  which  posed  as  the  voice 
of  a  broad  left  wing  in  the  Belgian  Socialist  Party  (similar 
to  the  Tribune  in  England  today)  under  the  mantle  of 
Andre  Renard,  a  leading  union  bureaucrat.  La  Gauche  was 
putting  forward  at  the  time  a  program  of  "structural 
reforms"  including  abolition  of  the  "/o/  unique"'  (the 
Christian  Democratic  government's  anti-labor  austerity 
program),  nationalization  of  the  power  industry,  govern- 
ment economic  planning,  controls  on  the  monopolies, 
halving  the  military  budget,  etc.  In  other  words,  an 
extremely  modest  social-democratic  reform  program. 

As  a  general  strike  developed  against  the  loi  unique, 
when  the  workers  were  demanding  in  mass  meetings 
"Down  with"  the  Eyskens  government!"  Mandel's  La 
Gauche  wrote  on  24  December  1960  that  "The  workers  fear 
that  if  the  government  falls  in  the  present  social  crisis,  the 
Belgian  Socialist  Party  will  enter  a  new  coalition 
government. . . ."  This,  he  said,  would  only  be  acceptable  if 
"1)  the  new  government  abandoned  the  hi  unique,  2)  if  the 
essential  points  in  the  structural  reforms  be  kept  as 
government  policy."  So  in  the  name  of  "structural  reforms" 
Mandel  announced  his  acceptance  of  a  bourgeois  coalition 
government! 

But  this  was  not  all.  The  1  January  1961  edition  of  La 
Gauche  carried  a  red  headline:  "Organize  the  March  on 
Brussels!"  Unfortunately  for  Mandel  he  had  jumped  the 
gun  on  his  mentor  Renard,  who  was  not  about  to  provoke  a 
showdown  with  the  Eyskens  government.  The  next  week 
La  Gauche  argued  against  concentrating  forces  on  a  single 
time  and  place  and  instead  called  for  guerrilla  tactics,  and 


The  Newsletter 


Belgian  general  strike  of  1960-61:  Mandel  withdrew 
call  for  march  on  Brussels  when  "left"  bureaucrat 
Renard  refused  to  support  It. 

by  14  January  Mandel  felt  constrained  to  publish  a 

cringing  capitulation: 

"We  have  been  reproached  for  having  launched  the  slogan  of 

a  march  on  Brussels  Since  we  find  that  the  demand  has 

not  been  taken  up  by  the  leaders,  we  submit;  but  we  poiht  out 
that  at  the  moment  our  call  appeared  last  week,  no 
indications  on  this  subject  were  yet  known." 

It's  true,  of  course.  Had  Mandel  known  Renard  was 
strongly  opposed  to  a  march  he  would  never  have  issued  a 
call. 

Another  of  the  topics  Mandel  is  speaking  on  during  his 
current  tour  is  the  Paris  May  events  of  1968.  What  he  will 
not  mention,  however,  is  how  his  theory  of  "neocapitalism" 
led  him  to  put  forward  a  program  telling  the  working 
masses  not  to  fight  for  state  power!  At  the  time  there  were 
ten  million  workers  on  strike,  threatening  to  break  through 
the  bureaucratic  control  of  the  CP  and  the  unions. 
However,  since  "there  is  not  yet  a  sufficiently  influential, 
organized,  unified  vanguard,  to  the  left  of  the  CP,  that 
could  lead  the  masses  to  victory  immediately,"  Mandel 
wrote,  "It  is  here  that  the  strategy  of  anti-capitalist 
structural  reforms,  'transitional  demands,'  assumes  all  its 
validity"  {Militant,  14  June  1968).  For  Trotskyists 
transitional  demands  are  part  of  a  program  "unalterably 
leading  to  one  final  conclusion:  the  conquest  of  power  by 
the  proletariat."  Mandel,  however,  proclaimed  that  "the 
masses  cannot  seize  power"  and  therefore  called  for 
"structural  reforms"  (workers  control  of  production, 
opening  company  books,  end  of  bank  secrecy)  which  were 
explicitly  not  seen  as  a  challenge  to  capitalist  rule  but  only 
as  "guarantees." 

By  the  1970's  Mandel  was  no  longer  talking  of  "neo- 
capitalism" and  he  soon  discovered  that  the  long  wave  of 
continued  on  next  page 


4 


SPARTACIST 


Mandel... 

the  "post-war  boom"  had  now  headed  downwards.  What 
had  changed,  however,  was  not  the  economic  situation. 
The  economic  conditions  in  France  in  1968  and  during 
Italy's  "hot  autumn"  of  1969  were  similar  to  the  early 
1960's.  What  happened  was  that  in  the  French  May  events, 
the  student  vanguardists  Mandel  had  been  tailing  discov- 
ered the  working  class.  As  the  Maoist/syndicalist  groups 
began  to  grow,  the  Mandelites,  threatened  with  being 
outflanked  on  their  left,  shifted  gears  and  began  chasing 
after  a  "new  mass  [later,  broad]  vanguard"  including 
radicalized  workers.  Mandel's  current  economic  progno- 
ses, while  superficially  more  orthodox  than  his  "neocapi- 
talist"  contortions,  are  in  reality  no  closer  to  Trotskyism. 
They  merely  serve  as  an  excuse  for  tailing  after  spontane- 
ous working-class  militancy  and  refusing  to  raise  the  full 
transitional  program  in  the  unions. 

The  Measure  of  the  Man:  How  Mandel  Became  a 
Pabioist 

Ernest  Mandel  broke  with  Trotskyism  more  than  25 
years  ago  at  a  time  of  a  great  crisis  in  the  Fourth 
International  which  led  to  a  split  in  1953  and  the 
consequent  destruction  of  the  FI  as  the  world  party  of 
socialist  revolution.  The  cause  of  this  terrible  blow  to  world 
Trotskyism  was  Pabioist  liquidationism,  and  after  an 
initial  hesitant  step  to  oppose  this  revisionist  current, 
Mandel  soon  broke  and  served  as  a  lawyer,  4  cover  for  the 
liquidators.  This  capitulation  revealed  a  key  aspect  of  his 
character— /?o////ca/  cowardice— which  is  incompatible 
with  being  a  revolutionary  leader.  Ever  since,  Mandel  has 
been  essentially  an  intellectual  prostitute,  a  pen  for  hire  to 
whatever  is  the  left  cause  of  the  moment.  It  is  this  which 
explains  his  wide  popularity,  for  he  takes  up  whatever  is  in 
style  this  season.  But  the  price  of  this  popularity  is  a 
constant  refusal  to  provide  revolutionary  leadership — "to 
tell  the  truth  to  the  masses,  no  matter  how  bitter  it  may  be." 

In  the  late  I940's  the  Stalinist  parties  of  West  Europe, 
particularly  France  and  Italy,  were  able  to  greatly  extend 
and  consolidate  their  influence  as  a  result  of  their  leading 
role  in  the  resistance  to  Nazi  occupation.  The  forces  of  the 
Fourth  International,  which  had  been  greatly  weakened 
through  assassination  by  both  the  Stalinists  and  fascists 
during  World  War  II,  were  largely  on  the  margins  of  the 
workers  movement.  At  the  same  time  the  onset  of  the  Cold 
War  led  to  a  hardening  of  the  Kremlin  line,  while  the 
appearance  of  bureaucratically  deformed  workers  states  in 
East  Europe  and  China  led  impressionists  to  conclude  that 
perhaps  the  Stalinists  could  be  forced  to  the  left. 

It  was  under  these  circumstances  that  the  pressures  of 
isolation  took  their  toll  on  the  Fourth  International.  The 
revisionist  current  which  appeared  was  led  by  Michel 
Pablo,  the  head  of  the  International  Secretariat  of  the  FI. 
In  a  January  1951  article  entitled  "Where  Are  We  Going?" 
Pablo  developed  his  "war/ revolution"  thesis  according  to 
which  World  War  III  between  the  U.S.  and  the  USSR  was 
imminent,  and  the  West  European  workers  movement 
would  be  subordinated  to  this  dynamic.  Moreover,  under 
the  pressure  of  the  masses,  wrote  Pablo,  "The  Communist 
Parties  retain  the  possibility  in  certain  circumstances  of 
roughly  outlining  a  revolutionary  orientation."  Therefore, 


Popular-Front  French  Union  of  the  Left:  handshake 
of  class  collaboration. 


seeing  the  possibility  of  revolutionary  situations  develop- 
ing before  the  Trotskyist  vanguard  could  amass  signifi- 
cant resources,  Pablo  called  for  a  policy  of  "entrism  sui 
generis"  in  which  the  sections  of  the  FI  would  enter  the 
mass  Stalinist  and  social-democratic  parties  with  the 
perspective  of  staying  there  for  a  long  period  to  pressure  the 
reformists  to  the  left. 

This  program  deprived  the  Fourth  International  of  its 
reason  for  existence.  Consequently  resistance  to  Pablo's 
schema  began  to  appear  in  many  sections.  When  the 
leadership  of  the  French  section  refused  to  go  along  with 
the  recipe  for  "deep  entrism"  in  the  Communist  Party, 
Pablo  declared  them  suspended,  in  a  bureaucratic  move 
worthy  of  a  petty  Stalin.  The  first  opposition  to  Pabloism, 
interestingly,  came  in  the  form  of  a  document  by  Ernest 
Germain  (the  party  name  of  Mandel),  which  became 
known  as  the  "Ten  Theses."  On  the  face  of  it  this  was  just  a 
restatement  of  home  truths  about  the  counterrevolutionary 
policies  of  Stalinism.  In  actuality,  though  it  bent  over 
backwards  not  to  attack  Pablo  by  name,  this  was  a  veiled 
attack  on  the  program  put  forward  in  "Where  Are  We 
Going?"  Germain's  tenth  thesis  stated: 

". . .  it  is  because  the  new  revolutionary  wave  contains  in 
embryo  the  destruction  of  the  Stalinist  parties  as  such  that  we 
ought  to  be  much  closer  tod^y  to  the  Communist  workers. 
This  is  only  one  phase  of  our  fundamental  task:  to  construct 
new  revolutionary  parties." 

Mandel/Germain,  however,  was  not  able  to  get  the 
Pablo-dominated  International  Secretariat  to  adopt  his 
theses.  Having  no  stomach  for  a  hard  factional  struggle — 
even  though  the  very  existence  of  the  Fourth  International 
was  at  stake — he  succumbed  to  Pablo's  pressures. 
Subsequently  he  became  the  hatchetman  for  the  dictatorial 
general  secretary  against  the  majority  leadership  of  the 
French  section  (PCI),  which  had  supported  his  now- 


SUMMER  1978 


5 


abandoned  "Ten  Theses."  In  response  to  this  cowardly 
treachery,  Favre-Bleibtreu,  head  of  the  French  anti- 
Pabloists  wrote  to  Germain  in  July  1951: 

"We  always  take  the  same  pleasure  in  reading  your 
documents,  whose  cultural  level,  richness  of  imagery,  and 
style  remind  us  that  you  remain  the  most  brilliant  writer  of 
the  International.  But  this  reading  confirms  my  belief  that 
you  lack  one  quality,  the  one  most  necessary  to  a  leader: 
firmness  of  your  political  ideas. 

"Today  you  magnanimously  offer  the  PCI  leadership  a 
peaceful  haven  'within  the  ranks  of  the  International 
majority'  where  you  yourself  ingloriously  found  refuge,  after 
a  few  passing  impulses  of  resistance  to  Pablo's  revisionist 
impulses.  Pardon  us  for  not  following  you  on  this  path 
because  in  our  view  the  International  will  not  be  built  by 
maneuvering  and  especially  not  by  your  pitiful  maneuvers." 
"Comrade  Ernest  Germain,  renounce  diversionary 
maneuvers,  renounce  your  puerile  and  irresponsible  double- 
crossing  game,  put  forward  and  defend  your  ideas  as  we 
ourselves  defend  them." 

translated  from  Spartacist  (edition  frangaise)  No.  7, 

autumn  1974 

It  is  not  hard  to  imagine  the  bitterness  of  these  comrades, 
who  were  being  read  out  of  the  International,  when  the 
erudite  "leader"  Mandel  collapsed  at  the  slightest  pressure. 
But  the  harm  which  befell  them  because  of  his  perfidy  does 
not  compare  to  the  crime  perpetrated  against  the  Chinese 
Trotskyists  then  being  held  in  the  jails  of  Mao  Tse-tung's 
Stalinist  regime.  This  horror  story  is  documented  in  a  letter 
by  Peng  Shu-tse,  head  of  the  Chinese  section  of  the  FI,  to 
American  Trotskyist  leader  James  P.  Cannon  in  December 
1953.  Peng  was  first  shocked  to  learn,  some  time  after 
arriving  in  Europe,  that  Pablo  considered  Mao's  party 
centrist  and  claimed  Mao  had  absorbed  the  central  theses 


of  the  Trotskyist  theory  of  permanent  revolution.  Since 
Peng  had  been  forced  to  flee  China  under  the  blows  of 
Stalinist  repression,  this  was  a  little  hard  to  stomach. 

So,  too,  was  Pablo's  resolution  on  China  adopted  by  the 
International  Executive  Committee  (lEC)  in  June  1952. 
"The  worst  thing  is,"  wrote  Peng,  "that  nobody  can  find  a 
perspective  for  the  Chinese  Trotskyists  in  this  resolution." 
its  supporters,  he  reported,  called  for  dissolving  the 
Chinese  section  in  order  to  join  the  Communist  Party.  But 
the  real  shock  came  when  he  reported  to  a  November  1952 
I  EC  plenum  on  the  brutal  repression  of  the  Chinese 
Trotskyists  by  Mao.  Pablo  replied  that  the  massacre  was 
not  a  deliberate  action  but  a  mistake  and  an  exception.  In 
May  1953  Peng  submitted  to  the  lEC  an  international 
appeal  for  aid  from  the  Chinese  Trotskyists  and  an  open 
letter  to  the  Mao  regime  protesting  the  killings  and  jailings. 
Pablo  agreed  to  publish  the  former,  but  then  suppressed  it. 

As  to  the  open  letter,  Germain  (by  now  Pablo's  flunkey) 
informed  Peng — who  was  a  member  of  the  lEC,  and  of  the 
International  Secretariat  until  Pablo  purged  him— that  it 
should  have  expressed  total  support  of  the  Maoist  regime, 
praising  its  revolutionary  achievements,  and  only  then 
mentioned  the  facts  of  the  persecution.  Because  Peng 
opposed  the  Peking  regime  as  Stalinist,  Mandel/Germain 
denounced  him  as  a  "hopeless  sectarian"  and  refused  to 
circulate  the  open  letter  to  the  International.  The  Chinese 
Trotskyists,  said  the  revisionist  Germain,  were  "refugees 
from  a  revolution"! 

As  if  it  were  not  enough  to  whitewash  the  Maoist 
repression — praising  the  Stalinist  regime  as  revolutionary, 

continued  on  page  19 


C.F.D.T. 

Sit  down  strike  at  Citroen  auto  plant  during  May  1968.  Whiie  10  million  workers  were  out  on  strike,  Mandel  called 
for  "anti-capitalist  structural  reforms." 


6 


SPARTACIST 


''Radical  Egalita 
A  Post  Mortem 

During  the  heyday  of  the  New  Left  a  generation  of 
Western  radicals  came  to  politically  embrace  Stalinism  in 
its  "Third  World"  variants  in  large  part  because  Cuba  and 
China  appeared  to  these  impressionistic  petty-bourgeois 
idealists  to  be  egalitarian  societies  in  struggle,  unlike  the 
seemingly  complacent,  stodgy,  bureaucratized  Soviet 
Union.  For  the  last  decade  in  the  U.S.  political  identifica- 
tion with  what  could  be  called  "Third  World"  Stalinist 
egalitarianism  has  been  a  dominant  tendency  in  main- 
stream petty-bourgeois  radicalism. 

New  Leftism  first  coalesced  with  "Third  World" 
Stalinism  over  the  Cuban  revolution  during  the  mid- 
1960's.  in  marked  contrast  to  their  Russian  patrons  the 
Cuban  leadership  appeared  to  be  genuinely  committed  to 
humanistic  and  populist  ideals,  seemingly  determined  not 
to  give  up  their  old  spartan  guerrilla  values  or  their  vision 
of  spreading  the  revolution  throughout  Latin  America  by 
fomenting  "armed  struggle."  Contrary  to  the  New  Left 
illusions,  the  Cuban  leaders  were  at  bottom  Khrushchevs  in 
khaki.  After  their  budding  "detente"  with  Yankee 
imperialism  was  abruptly  terminated  by  Washington  and 
their  cordial  relations  with  the  Kremlin  estranged  follow- 
ing what  was  regarded  as  a  Soviet  retreat  over  the  1962 
missile  crisis,  the  Cuban  leaders  had  nothing  to  lose  by 
adopting  a  militant  posture. 

What  especially  captivated  the  New  Left  was  how 
Ernesto  "Che"  Guevara  eloquently  preached  the  need  to 
combine  "building  socialism"  with  creating  "socialist 
man."  To  New  Leftists  Guevara  seemed  to  be  speaking 
their  language  when  he  advocated  a  struggle  to  end 
alienated  labor  in  Cuba  that  would  start  by  replacing  all 
material  incentives  with  moral  incentives.  Guevara  seemed 
to  integrate  two  distinct  New  Left  currents:  regarding  the 
"wretched  of  the  earth"  in  the  "Third  World"  as  the  sole 
revolutionary  vanguard  (Frantz  Fanon),  and  viewing  the 
question  of  "personal  liberation"  as  a  necessary  but 
neglected  goal  of  Marxist  socialism  (Herbert  Marcuse). 

Although  the  much-touted  "radical"  policies  adopted  by 
Castro  produced  a  series  of  economic  disasters  instead  of 
"socialist  man"  and  were  later  scrapped  in  favor  of  a  return 
to  more  orthodox  Soviet-model  methods,  the  New  Left  in 
the  meantime  had  its  attention  diverted  to  China,  then  in 
the  throes  of  the  so-called  "Great  Proletarian  Cultural 
Revolution."  Starry-eyed  radicals  in  the  West  took  as  good 
coin  the  Maoist  demagogy  about  struggling  to  eliminate 
bureaucratism  and  privilege  and  to  create  in  China  a 
society  modeled  after  the  Paris  Commune.  In  reality  an 
intra-bureaucratic  power  struggle  launched  by  Mao  only  to 
oust  his  principle  rivals  in  the  regime  and  to  whip  the 
apparatus  into  line,  the  Cultural  Revolution' was  idealized 
by  many  Leftists  as  a  titanic  campaign  to  institute 
"participatory  democracy"  for  one  fourth  of  the  human 
race. 

Whereas  Guevara's  specific  economic  (as  opposed  to  his 
high-falutin'  social)  ideas  advocated  during  the  Cuban 
"Great  Debate"  had  relatively  little  impact  on  the  New 


ian"  Stalinism: 


Ernesto  "Che"  Guevara. 


Left,  the  Chinese  Cultural  Revolution  made  questions  of 
economic  policy,  such  as  moral  versus  material  incentives, 
a  real  issue  among  vicarious  "radical"  Stalinists.  While 
Guevara  had  regarded  material  incentives  as  perhaps 
legitimate  for  "building  socialism"  Soviet-style  but  a  fetter 
on  creating  "socialist  man,"  Mao  claimed  that  material 
incentives  and  wage  differentials  were  a  mortal  threat  to  the 
very  existence  of  "socialism"  in  China.  Not  only  those  who 
joined  Maoist  cadre  organizations  after  the  demise  of  the 
New  Left  but  also  those  soft  "Third  World"  enthusiasts 
who  remained  organizationally  unaffiliated  accepted  the 
incredibly  idealist  Maoist  dogma  that  "revisionists" 
(defined  as  anyone  in  the  Chinese  bureaucracy  who 
opposed  Mao)  could  restore  capitalism  in  China  simply 
through  gradually  expanding  "bourgeois  right"  (material 
incentives  and  the  like),  i.e.,  a  peaceful  and  possibly  even 
surreptitious  counterrevolution. 

But  history  hasn't  been  kind  to  those  who  seek  to  glorify 
"Third  World"  Stalinist  egalitarianism.  If  the  economic 
policies  of  the  Castro  regime  haven't  caused  significant 
disillusionment  in  the  New  Left  radical  milieu,  the 
seemingly  kaleidoscopic  policy  shifts  associated  with  the 
revolving-door  purges  in  People's  China  since  the  death  of 
Mao  certainly  have.  In  October  of  1976  the  most 
prominent  representatives  of  "radical"  Maoism  (Chiang 


SUMMER  1978 


7 


Ching,  Yao  Wen-yuan,  Wang  Huhg-wen,  Chang  Chun- 
chiao)  were  suddenly  purged  and  henceforth  viHfied  as  a 
high-living,  double-dealing  "Gang  of  Four"  who  spouted 
rhetoric  about  "restricting  bourgeois  right"  only  to  conceal 
their  allegedly  nefarious  schemes  to  restore  a  new 
bourgeoisie  to  power  in  China.  Claiming  the  mantle  of 
Maoism,  the  new  regime  headed  by  Hua  Kuo-feng  and 
Teng  Hsiao-ping  has  promised  to  rectify  the  voluntarist 
idiocies  attributed  to  the  "Gang  of  Four"  and  to  adopt 
more  "pragmatic"  economic  policies,  which  include 
replacing  moral  incentives  with  material  incentives  and 
raising  wages  for  the  first  time  in  16  years.  Thus,  a  recent 
issue  of  Peking  Review  ( 1 7  February)  prominently  featured 
on  its  front  page  a  slogan  which  for  years-  had  been 
denounced  by  the  "radical"  Maoists  as  the  epitome  of 
Brezhnevite  "revisionism":  "To  Each  According  to  His 
Work:  Socialist  Principle  of  Distribution." 

While  Castro's  abandonment  of  Guevarist-inspired 
economic  policies  produced  no  ripples  among  New  Left 
circles,  the  purge  of  the  most  prominent  self-proclaimed 
Maoist  "egalitarians"  proved  to  be  a  political  bombshell  in 
the  camp  of  Maoists  and  pro-Peking  "progressives" 
abroad.  It  was  soon  followed  by  an  official  campaign 
repudiating  those  policies  and  rhetoric  that  for  a  decade 
had  been  associated  with"ra(^icar  Maoism.  In  the  U.S.  the 
question  of  material  incentives  versus  "restricting  bour- 
geois right"  entered  into  the  clique  fight  which  recently 
ripped  apart  the  Revolutionary  Communist  Party  (RCP), 
once  the  largest  pro-Peking  organization  in  this  country. 
To  the  extent  that  the  RCP  clique  fight  had  a  programmat- 
ic expression,  the  rival  "headquarters" — the  inveterate 
New  Leftists  around  the  "Chairman"  Bob  Avakian  and  the 
more  orthodox  Stalinists  following  Mickey  Jarvis — 
clashed  over  the  question'  of  whether  or  not  the  new 
leadership  in  Peking  was  leading  China  down  the 
"capitalist  road."  In  his  main  "summing-up"  of  the  fight 
Avakian  directed  his  "main  blow"  at  Teng's  "Twenty 
Points,"  an  economic  policy  platform  that  proposed 
granting  wage  increases  and  reinstituting  material 
incentives. 

Apart  from  those  few  dogged  spirits  who  continue  the 
search  for  "socialist  man"  among  the  peasantry  of  tiny 
Albania,  New  Left  radicals  have  been  left  without  any 
Stalinist-ruled  state  to  idealize  as  an  egalitarian  society. 
Even  Vietnam,  that  "socialist  fatherland"  for  "Third 
World"  enthusiasts  who  wanted  to  wish  away  the  Sino- 
Soviet  split,  has  been  a  "God  That  Failed"  for  many  New 
Left  leftovers.  While  Ho  once  was  glorified  as  a  gentle 
philosopher-poet  concerned  with  instilling  humanistic 
values  in  his  people  even  under  conditions  of  war  and 
destruction,  his  heirs  in  Hanoi  are  today  locked  in  a  sordid 
nationalist  war  with  their  "comrades"  in  Phnom  Penh,  who 
are  denounced  as  marauding  rapists  and  cannibals.  But 
"poor  little  Cambodia"  isn't  likely  to  become  a  New  Left 
favorite.  If  wage  differentials  have  been  eliminated  in 
"Democratic  Kampuchea,"  it  is  only  because  the  rabidly 
xenophobic  and  primitivist  Cambodian  Stalinist  regime 
has  actually  abolished  wages  and  even  currency  itself — 
which  under  conditions  of  material  scarcity  can  only  result 
in  militarization  of  labor  and  enormous  economic 
hardships  for  the  toiling  masses. 

Thus,  as  a  significant  New  Left-derived  political 
tendency  identification  with  "radical"  Stalinist  egalitarian- 
ism  has  had  its  day.  But  the  issues  which  nurtured  this 


tendency  are  very  much  alive.  Especially  now,  considerable 
attention  has  been  generated  by  the  new  so-called 
"pragmatic"  policies  of  the  Hua/Teng  regime.  But  in 
denouncing  how  the  "radical"  Maoists  misused  moral 
incentives  and  in  "rehabilitating"  material  incentives  the 
present  Peking  regime  by  no  means  has  repudiated  moral 
incentives  as  such.  Regardless  of  which  clique  rules  in  the 
Forbidden  City,  the  Chinese  Stalinist  bureaucracy,  as  long 
as  it  remains  saddled  by  the  enormous  contradiction 
between  its  material  backwardness  and  its  Great  Power 
aspirations,  must  continue  to  resort  to  utopian-voluntarist 
methods  —  and  to  rationalize  their  economic  policies  with 
phony  egalitarian  rhetoric.  It  is  thus  timely  to  consider  how 
the  questions  of  material  incentives  and  wage  differentials 
have  been  obfuscated  and  distorted  by  Stalinist  ideologues, 
both  of  the  orthodox  Moscow  school  and  the  sundry  self- 
styled  "radical  egalitarians,"  ranging  from  Guevara  to 
Mao. 

Stalinist  Idealism  a  la  "Che" 

"Che"  Guevara  was  lionized  by  the  New  Left  as  the  most 
articulate  of  the  Cuban  leaders  who  were  growing 
increasingly  critical  of  the  guidance  provided  by  the 
"socialist  beacon"  in  Moscow.  A  series  of  domestic 
economic  failures  in  the  early  1960's  convinced  Guevara 
that  Soviet-model  planning  principles  couldn't  be  success- 
fully imposed  upon  the  plantation  monoculture  of  Cuba. 
Moreover,  many  of  the  top  leaders  in  the  Cuban  regime 
regarded  the  Soviet  role  during  the  Missile  Crisis  of  1962  as 
a  retreat  which  left  Cuba  even  more  isolated  than  before. 

In  the  course  of  the  so-called  "Great  Debate"  over 
economic  and  developmental  policies  which  took  place  in 
Cuba  during  1963-66  Guevara  stressed  what  he  called 
"the  two  pillars  of  socialist  construction:  the  formation  of 
the  new  human  being  and  the  development  of  technology." 
If  Cuba  were  to  achieve  genuine  socialism,  argued 
Guevara,  then  two  interrelated  tasks  had  to  be  simultane- 
ously tackled  at  once.  First,  commodity  production  in 
Cuba  had  to  be  completely  eliminated  through  full 
collectivization,  super-centralized  planning  and  financing 
and  the  eradication  of  material  incentives.  Second,  creating 
a  self-sacrificing,  frugal  and  fully-socialized  "New  Man" 
required  replacing  material  with  moral  incentives  and 
instituting  campaigns  encouraging  unpaid  voluntary  labor. 

While  Guevara  was  undoubtedly  fervent  in  his 
egalitarian  convictions,  the  fundamental  concepts  he 
formulated  and  defended  during  the  "Great  Debate" 
remained  fully  within  the  ideological  domain  of  Stalinism. 
At  no  time  did  Guevara  question  the  total  political 
disenfranchisement  of  the  Cuban  masses  or  the  commit- 
ment of  the  Castro  clique  to  the  reactionary-utopian 
Stalinist  dogma  of  "building  socialism  in  one  country" — in 
this  case  a  tiny  island  only  ninety  miles  from  the  shores  of 
the  foremost  imperialist  colossus.  Guevara's  political 
worldview  was  fundamentally  defined  by  his  identification 
with  the  rule  of  a  Stalinist  bureaucratic  caste  that  views  as  a 
hostile  act  demands  by  the  workers  for  a  higher  living 
standard  or  for  some  say  in  decision  making.  If  he  sounded 
more  militant  and  egalitarian  than  the  Kremlin  bureau- 
crats (and  their  loyal  lackeys  in  Cuba),  it  was  mainly  because 
Guevara,  perhaps  even  more  so  than  Fidel  Castro,  iden- 
tified with  the  military — i.e.,  the  guerrillas  in  power.  Un- 
like the  party  and  administrative  apparatuses,  the  military 

continued  on  next  page 


8 


SPARTACIST 


Egalitarianism... 

command  was  that  part  of  the  Cuban  Stalinist  bureaucracy 
least  directly  involved  with  implementing  economic 
policies.  Guevara  was  guided  by  a  conception  that 
"socialist"  society  should  be  built  not  through  appealing  to 
supposedly  base  material  interests  but  by  exhorting  the 
masses  to  sacrifice,  just  as  the  guerrillas  had  only  been 
victorious  through  enormous  self-sacrifice  and  revolu- 
tionary idealism. 

What  defined  Guevara  as  fundamentally  an  idealist 
Stalinist  is  the  fact  that  he  sought  to  surmount  the 
insurmountable  obstacles  to  "building  socialism"  in 
economically  backward  Cuba  through  utopian-voluntarist 
means.  In  his  well-known  1965  essay,  "Man  and  Socialism 
in  Cuba,"  Guevara  explicitly  links  the  primacy  of  moral 
over  material  incentives  to  the  problems  of  how  to  rapidly 
industrialize  underdeveloped  Cuba  in  a  capitalist  interna- 
tional environment: 

"Underdevelopment  and  the  customary  flight  of  capital  to 
'civilized'  countries  make  impossible  a  rapid  change  without 
sacrifices.  There  still  remains  a  long  stretch  to  be  covered  in 
the  building  of  the  economic  base,  and  the  temptation  to 
follow  the  beaten  paths  of  material  interest  as  the  lever  of 
speedy  development  is  very  great  

"Pursuing  the  chimera  of  achieving  socialism  with  the  aid  of 
the  blunted  weapons  left  to  us  by  capitalism  (the  commodity 
as  the  economic  cell,  profitability,  and  individual  material 
interest  as  levers,  etc.),  it  is  possible  to  come  to  a  blind 

alley         Meanwhile,  the  adapted  economic  base  has 

undermined  the  development  of  consciousness.  To  build 
communism,  a  new  man  must  be  created  simultaneously  with 
the  material  base." 

— reproduced  in  Bertram  Silverman,  Man  and 
Socialism  in  Cuba:  The  Great  Debate  (1971) 
Thus,   consciously   rejecting   an   internationalist  (i.e., 
Leninist-Trotskyist)  perspective  of  revolution,  Guevara 
advocated  "sacrifices"  by  the  laboring  masses  as  the  only 
viable  alternative  to  Soviet-style  technocratic  methods. 

It  is  thus  quite  logical  that  for  Guevara  the  principal 
obstacle  to  "building  socialism"  in  Cuba  was  the  continua- 
tion of  individualistic  attitudes  and  values  among  the 
masses,  in  particular  material  interest  as  the  prime 
motivation  for  labor.  For  example,  in  an  interview  held  in 
1963  Guevara  declared: 

"1  am  not  interested  in  dry  economic  socialism.  We  are 
fighting  against  poverty,  but  we  are  also  fighting  against 
alienation.  One  of  the  fundamental  objectives  of  Marxism  is 
to  remove  interest,  the  factor  of  individual  interest,  and  gain 
from  men's  psychological  motivations.  Marx  was  preoccu- 
pied both  with  economic  factors  and  with  their  repercussions 
on  the  spirit.  If  communism  isn't  interested  in  this,  too,  it 
may  be  a  method  of  distributing  goods,  but  it  will  never  be  a 
revolutionary  way  of  life." 

— quoted  in  Silverman,  introduction  to  Man  and 
Socialism  in  Cuba. 

While  attractive  to  the  radical  iconoclasm  of  the  early 
New  Left,  this  political  worldview  is  profoundly  anti- 
Marxist.  The  counterposition  of  individual  material 
interest  to  an  abstract  concept  of  social  collectivity  is  a 
bourgeois  ideological  prejudice.  In  one  of  his  earliest 
writings  as  a  socialist  Marx  explicitly  attacked  setting  the 
interests  of  society  above  the  well-being  of  its  individual 
members: 

"Above  all  we  must  avoid  postulating  'society'  again  as  an 
abstraction  vis-a-vis  the  individual.  The  individual  is  the 
social  being.  His  manifestations  of  life — even  if  they  may  not 


appear  in  the  direct  form  of  communal  manifestations  of  life 
carried  out  in  association  with  others — are  therefore  an 
expression  and  confirmation  of  social  life."  [emphasis  in 
original] 

— "Economic  and  Philosophic  Manuscripts  of  1844," 
in  Karl  Marx  and  Frederick  Engels, 
Collected  Works  (1975)  Vol.  Ill,  p.  299 
Engels  was  even  more  explicit  about  the  individualist 
values  of  communist  society.  In  what  became  the  first  draft 
of  the  Communist  Manifesto  he  wrote: 

"Question  2:  What  is  the  aim  of  the  Communists! 
"Answer:  To  organise  society  in  such  a  way  that  every 
member  of  it  can  develop  and  use  all  his  capabilities  and 
powers  in  complete  freedom  and  without  thereby  infringing 
the  basic  conditions  of  this  society." 

— "Draft  of  a  Communist  Confession  of  Faith," 
in  Marx  and  Engels,  Collected  Works  (\916) 
Vol.  VI,  p.  96 

Needless  to  say,  Marxists  understand  that  in  the  course 
of  the  epochal  struggle  to  overthrow  world  capitalism  the 
cadres  of  the  revolutionary  vanguard  must  be  prepared  to 
sacrifice  their  individual  interests  and  sometimes  even  their 
lives.  In  a  period  of  revolutionary  crises  the  working  masses 
will  also  make  great  sacrifices.  But  in  mass  struggles  such 
sacrifices  are  made  for  the  purpose  of  securing  better 
material  conditions  in  the  near  future.  It  is  profoundly  anti- 
Marxist  to  transform  the  need  for  the  vanguard  and  the 
masses  to  make  sacrifices  in  the  struggle  to  overthrow 
capitalism  into  a  doctrinal  rejection  of  the  materialist  and 
individualist  aims  that  are  a  component  part  of  the 
communist  worldview. 

Just  as  Guevara  counterposed  individual  interest  to  the 
ideal  of  an  egalitarian-collectivist  society,  so  he  also  tended 
to  simply  identify  individual  selfishness  with  bourgeois 
ideology.  But  Marxists  understand  .that  bourgeois  ideology 
is  not  and  never  has  been  the  cult  of  unbridled  selfishness. 
Only  the  most  vulgar  bourgeois  ideologists  of  the  ilk  of  Ayn 
Rand  would  venture  to  make  such  a  claim. 

Nationalism  and  religion,  often  in  concert,  have  played 
an  enormous  role  in  conditioning  the  laboring  masses  to 
submit  to  bourgeois  authority  in  the  factory  and  society  in 
general.  For  example,  Methodism  was  the  main  ideological 
force  in  the  transformation  of  the  independent  English 
artisan  class  of  the  eighteenth  century  into  a  disciplined 
factory  proletariat.  Early  nineteenth  century  British  mill 
owners  were  very  much  aware  of  the  importance  of  moral 
(i.e.,  religious)  incentives  in  exploiting  "their"  laborers. 
One  leading  ideologue  of  the  British  industrial  revolution, 
Andrew  Ure,  made  the  following  typical  observation  in  his 
1835  work.  Philosophy  of  Manufactures: 

"It  is,  therefore,  excessively  the  interest  of  every  millowner  to 
organize  his  moral  machinery  on  equally  sound  principles 
with  his  mechanical,  for  otherwise  he  will  never  command 
the  steady  hands,  watchful  eyes,  and  prompt  co-operation, 

essential  to  the  excellence  of  product  There  is,  in  fact,  no 

case  to  which  the  Gospel  truth,  'Godliness  is  great  gain,'  is 
rriore  applicable  than  to  the  administration  of  an  extensive 
factory." 

— quoted  in  E.P.  Thompson,  TTie  Making  of  the 
English  Working  Class  (1963) 

It  was  Guevara's  Stalinist  political  outlook  which  limited 
him  to  his  superficial  and  false  view  of  bourgeois  ideology 
as  simply  pure  individualism.  Guevara  cannot  consider 
nationalism  as  a  bourgeois  ideology  precisely  because  of 
his  own  central  ideological  commitment  to  "socialist 
nation  building."  And  Guevara's  subjectivist  concept  of 


SUMMER  1978 


9 


how  to  liberate  the  "socialist  man"  within  every  Cuban 
citizen  has  a  certain  ideological  resemblance  to  the 
Christian  doctrine  that  "the  Kingdom  of  Heaven  is  within." 

Subjectivist  Re-Definition  of  Alienation 

What  most  attracted  the  New  Left  to  Guevara's 
egalitarian  concepts  was  his  exhortation  about  ending 
alienated  labor  as  a  vital  part  of  the  struggle  to  "build 
socialism"  in  Cuba.  Eliminating  alienated  labor  would,  in 
turn,  contribute  to  the  interrelated  task  of  creating  the  new 
"socialist  man."  In  "Man  and  Socialism  in  Cuba"  Guevara 
defined  unalienated  labor  in  the  following  terms: 

"In  order  for  it  to  develop  in  culture,  work  must  acquire  a 
ne^y  condition;  man  as  commodity  ceases  to  exist,  and  a 
system  is  established  that  grants  a  quota  for  the  fulfillment  of 
social  duty.  The  means  of  production  belong  to  society,  and 
the  machine  is  only  the  front  line  where  duty  is  performed. 
Man  begins  to  free  his  thought  from  the  bothersome  fact  that 
presupposed  the  need  to  satisfy  his  animal  needs  by  working. 
He  begins  to  see  himself  portrayed  in  his  work  and  to 
understand  its  human  magnitude  through  the  created  object, 
through  the  work  carried  out.  This  no  longer  involves  leaving 
a  part  of  his  being  in  the  form  of  labor  power  sold,  which  no 
longer  belongs  to  him;  rather  it  signifies  an  emanation  from 
himself,  a  contribution  to  the  life  of  society  in  which  he  is 
reflected,  the  fulfillment  of  his  social  duty." 

In  other  words,  through  institutionalized  measures  that 
would  encourage  and  reward  performing  "social  duty" 
(e.g.,  voluntary  unpaid  labor)  the  individual  Cuban  worker 
would  begin  to  identify  his  work  with  the  larger  socialist 
cause  and,  to  that  extent,  his  labor  would  cease  to  be 
alienated.  Thus,  for  Guevara  alienated  labor  \s  a  subjective 
phenomenon,  like  individual  interest,  that  can  be  trans- 
formed through  successfully  instilling  new  collectivist 
values  among  the  working  masses. 

Such  a  concept  of  alienated  labor,  however,  has  nothing 
in  common  with  Marxism.  As  understood  in  the  Marxist 
sense,  alienated  labor  is  not  fundamentally  determined  by 
the  subjective  attitude  of  the  worker  towards  his  work — 
whether  he  hates  or  likes  his  job,  or  whether  he  begins  to  get 
satisfaction  from  working  to  "build  socialism"  regardless 
of  how  he  feels  about  his  particular  job.  For  Marxists 
alienated  labor  is  not  subjectively  but  rather  objectively 
and  historically  determined. 

Marx  defined  unalienated  labor  in  the  following  precise 
terms  in  the  Grundrisse: 

"The  labor  concerned  with  material  production  can  only 
have  this  [unalienated]  character  if  ( I )  it  is  of  a  social  nature, 
(2)  it  has  a  scientific  character  and  at  the  same  time  is  general 
work,  i.e.,  if  it  ceases  to  be  human  effort  as  a  definite,  trained 
natural  force,  gives  up  its  purely  natural,  primitive  aspects 
and  becomes  the  activity  of  a  subject  controlling  all  the  forces 
of  nature  in  the  production  process."  [emphasis  added] 

Thus,  for  Marx  alienated  labor  is  bound  up  with  an 
historically  evolved  division  of  labor  in  society  wherein  the 
individual  workers  who  are  involved  in  material  produc- 
tion are  denied  mastery  over  the  production  process.  This 
given  division  of  labor  in  turn  derives  from  the  inadequate 
development  of  productivity  and  particularly  the  low 
cultural  level  of  the  masses.  Labor  ceases  to  be  alienated 
only  when  "general  work"  has  a  thoroughly  scientific 
character,  i.e.,  when  objective  conditions  enable  the 
producer  to  fully  control  "all  the  forces  of  nature  in  the 
production  process."  Social  production  will  continue  to  be 
marked  by  alienated  labor  as  long  as  the  low  level  of 


productivity  imposes  a  division  of  labor  upon  the 
individual  producers. 

In  contrast  to  Guevarist  idealism,  Marxists  understand 
that  there  are  definite  and  manifold  material  preconditions 
which  must  be  socially  achieved  before  all  producers  in 
society  are  able  to  control  "all  the  forces  of  nature  in  the 
production  process."  Cutting  sugar  cane  or  manning  an 
assembly  line  in  Stalinist-ruled  Cuba  can  never  be 
unalienated  labor,  no  matter  how  socialist-minded  and 
self-sacrificing  the  workers  might  be.  Ending  alienated 
labor  for  the  mass  of  producers  is  possible  only  in  a  gen- 
uinely socialist  society,  the  product  of  the  transition  peri- 
od (the  dictatorship  of  the  proletariat)  which  has  achieved 
a  multiple  increase  in  labor  productivity,  an  enormous 
raising  of  the  general  cultural  level  of  the  population  and 
the  continual  expansion  of  individual  free  time.  In 
contrast,  Guevara  adopted  the  classically  Stalinist  position 
that  falsely  identifies  the  dictatorship  of  the  proletariat,  the 
transitional  epoch  between  capitalism  and  socialism  when 
"classes  still  remain  and  will  remain'  (Lenin),  with 
socialism,  the  lower  phase  of  communist  society  which 
presupposes  "an  end  to  all  class  differences  and  class 
antagonisms"  (Engels).  Thus,  in  arguing  that  "building 
socialism"  in  Cuba  required  the  elimination  of  material 
incentives  Guevara  explicitly  rejected  those  sections  of 
Marx's  Critique  of  the  Got  ha  Program  which  unam- 
biguously stated  that  during  the  transitional  epoch  (the 
dictatorship  of  the  proletariat)  "bourgeois  right"  manifest- 
ed in  income  differentials  would  continue  to  exist. 

Idealizing  the  Cuban  Bureaucracy 

Although  New  Left  radicals  were  mainly  enamoured  of 
Guevara's  visions  of  the  "New  Man"  freed  from  alienated 
labor,  the  "Great  Debate"  in  Cuba  actually  centered  on  far 
more  pragmatic  issues.  Guevara  linked  his  abstract 
exhortations  for  raising  mass  consciousness  and  ending 
alienated  labor  with  a  series  of  proposals  aiming  at  total 
industrial/financial  centralization  in  Cuba  (an  economic 
continued  on  next  page 


Prensa  Latina 


New  Leftist  volunteers  from  tfie  U.S.  "build  socialism" 
by  cutting  sugar  cane  in  Castro's  Cuba,  1970. 


10 


SPARTACIST 


Egalitarianism... 

scheme  that  ran  counter  to  the  New  Left  fetish  of 
decentraHzation).  During  the  "Great  Debate"  Guevara 
advocated  administering  Cuba  as  if  the  country  were  a 
single  extensive  factory. 

Underlying  Guevara's  ultra-centralism  was  his  evident 
belief  that  at  every  level  the  Cuban  administrative 
personnel  would  carry  out  their  production  quotas  in  the 
most  cost-efficient,  conscientious  manner,  i.e.,  that  the 
Cuban  bureaucracy  had  sufficient  socialist  consciousness 
so  as  not  to  require  strict  financial  controls.  His  Soviet- 
model  opponents,  principally  the  veteran  Moscow-line 
Stalinist  Carlos  Rafael  Rodriguez,  argued  that  unless 
enterprises  were  financially  self-sufficient  (i.e.,  expected  to 
normally  make  a  bookkeeping  "profit"),  managers  would 
tend  to  squander  resources.  Thus,  the  "Great  Debate" 
represented  an  intrabureaucratic  tug-of-war  between 
Guevara  the  idealizer  of  the  Cuban  guerrillas  in  power  and 
the  more  "pragmatic"  Stalinists  around  Rodriguez,  who 
argued  for  a  more  "realistic"  accommodation  to  manageri- 
al parasitism. 

In  such  intrabureaucratic  conflicts  over  plannings 
methods  revolutionary  Marxists  cannot  take  sides,  since  a 
rational  and  egalitarian  economic  policy  is  not  possible  as 
long  as  political  power  is  monopolized  by  a  privileged 
bureaucratic  caste.  However,  among  the  prominent 
contributors  to  the  "Great  Debate"  was  none  other  than 
Ernest  Mandel,  erudite  Pabloist  revisionist  and  today 
prominent  leader  of  the  fake-Trotskyist  United  Secretariat 
of  tl^e  Fourth  International  (USec).  While  Cuba  did 
present  the  unique  phenomenon  of  a  bureaucratically 
deformed  workers  state  issuing  out  of  the  victory  of  a  non- 
Stalinist  petty-bourgeois  nationalist  guerrill;\  formation 
(the  July  26  Movement),  Mandel  &  Co.  claimed  that 
"Fidel"  and  "Che"  were  genuine  Marxist-Leninists  and 
that  the  supposedly  insignificant  bureaucratic  deforma- 
tions which  existed  in  the  Havana  regime  did  not  require  a 
political  revolution  led  by  a  Trotskyist  party  but  could  be 
rectified  through  oh-so-comradely  criticism  and 
suggestions. 

While  the  USec  aggressively  assumed  the  role  of 
publicity  agents  for  the  Cuban  regime  under  the  rubric  of 
"defending  the  Cuban  revolution,"  Mandel  traveled  to 
Havana  to  intervene  in  the  "Great  Debate."  His  article, 
"Mercantile  Categories  in  the  Period  of  Transition,"  ap- 
peared in  the  January  1964  issue  of  Nuestra  Indus tria.  the 
journal  of  Guevara's  Ministry  of  Industry.  Mandel  sought 
to  become  a  theoretical  braintruster  for  what  he  viewed  as 
the  left-leaning  wing  of  the  Cuban  "leadership"  around 
Guevara.  Needless  to  say,  in  this  article  (as  well  as  all  his 
other  pro-Castro  accolades  then  and  since)  Mandel  was 
mum  about  his  "Trotskyist"  affiliation  and  formal  espousal 
of  the  program  of  the  Fourth  International;  he  was  well 
aware  of  the  fact  that  one  of  the  first  acts  of  the  Castro 
regime  was  the  suppression  of  the  ostensibly  Trotskyist 
movement  in  Cuba  (the  Posadista  organization),  which 
included  the  destruction  of  the  printing  plates  for  a  Spanish 
translation  of  Trotsky's  Permanent  Revolution. 

Disingenuously  presenting  himself  as  merely  an 
academic  fellow  traveler  of  world  Stalinism  commenting 
on  the  problems  faced  by  the  "workers  states"  in  the 


transition  to  "socialism,"  Mandel  in  this  article  throws  his 
support  behind  Guevara  in  the  issues  in  dispute.  On  the 
question  of  enterprise  autonomy,  for  instance,  Mandel 
backs  Guevara's  supercentralism: 

"The  more  underdeveloped  a  country's  economy,  the  fewer 
able,  experienced,  and  truly  socialist  technical  cadres  it  will 
have,  and  the  wiser  it  is,  in  our  opinion,  to  reserve  decision- 
making power  over  the  more  important  investments  and 
financial  matters  to  the  central  authorities." 

-reproduced  in  Silverman,  Man  and  Socialism  in 
Cuba 

Having  thus  given  the  Cuban  Stalinist  "central  authori- 
ties" a  carte  blanche,  Mandel  must  take  political  responsi- 
bility for  the  disastrous  results  of  Castro's  economic 
policies.  What'  Guevara's  super-"centralist"  schemes 
actually  involved  was  the  dismantling  of  the  system  of 
charges  between  state-owned  enterprises  and  between 
enterprises  and  the  ministries  as  the  means  of  financial 
control  and  accountability.  Thus,  the  Cuban  economic 
system  was  stripped  of  any  mechanism  for  determining 
rational  resource  allocation  and  utilization.  In  1966  Castro 
drastically  reduced  the  power  and  functions  of  the  Central 
Planning  Board  and  personally  assumed  decision-making 
formerly  handled  by  the  planners.  Completely  neglecting 
the  gathering  of  statistical  data,  Castro  discarded  the 
medium-range  plan,  launching  in  its  place  a  series  of 
unrelated  "mini"  and  "special"  plans.  As  a  result  capital 
and  human  resources  were  grossly  misused  and 
squandered. 

Years  later,  after  Castro  returned  to  orthodox  Soviet- 
model  planning  systems,  the  Guevarist  schemes  were 
criticized  as  idealist.  At  the  first-ever  congress  of  the  Cuban 
Communist  Party  held  in  1976  Castro  made  the  following 
very  dry  criticism  of  Guevara's  policies: 

"The  fact  is  that  a  single  management  system  of  the  entire 
economy  did  not  exist  and,  under  the  circumstances,  we  took 

the  less  correct  decision — to  invent  a  new  procedure  

"By  the  end  of  1965,  the  Ministry  of  Finance  had  already 
been  dissolved  and  the  National  Bank  restructured.  The  last 
budget  adopted  was  that  of  1 967,  but  its  implementation  was 
not  controlled  because,  since  the  second  quarter  of  that  year, 

charges  and  payments  were  no  longer  being  made  

"In  1968,  the  connection  between  salaries  and  output  sales 
was  severed.  Work-hour  schedules  on  the  basis  of  conscious- 
ness and  renunciation  of  pay  for  extra  hours  worked  were 
stimulated,  in  1967  interest  on  loans  and  taxes  collected  from 
farmers  was  abolished  

"When  it  might  have  seemed  as  though  we  were  drawing 
nearer  to  communist  forms  of  production  and  distribution, 
we  were  actually  pulling  away  from  the  correct  methods  for 
the  previous  construction  of  socialism." 
— Granma,  4  July  1976 
While  his  philosophical  contributions  were  definitively 
idealist  and  his  economic  schemes  proved  disastrous, 
Guevara  at  the  same  time  was  a  rare  figure  in  the  history  of 
world  Stalinism  inasmuch  as  he  evidently  believed  in  the 
egalitarian  principles  that  he  articulated.  Guevara  was 
manifestly  a  man  of  considerable  political  integrity  and 
personal  courage  who  lived  and  was  prepared  to  die  for  his 
beliefs.  It  has  been  claimed— and  it  may  indeed  be  tru^— 
that  Guevara  left  Cuba  to  undertake  guerrilla  war  in  Latin 
America  at  least  in  part  because  he  was  repelled  by  the 
small-mindedness,  philistinism  and  venality  of  the  new  bu- 
reaucratic caste  under  Castro. 

Maoist  Mystification  of  Bourgeois  Right 

While  ideologically  an  inveterate  Stalinist  to  the  end, 
Guevara  was  different  in  this  respect  from  the  Chinese 


SUMMER  1978 


11 


'^radical  egalitarians"  who  rose  to  power  and  prominence 
during  the  Cultural  Revolution.  In  contrast  to  Guevara, 
the  Maoist  sycophants,  like  their  mentor,  were  totally 
cynical  and  demagogic  in  their  professions  of  egalitarian 
policies.  Mao  was  a  bonapartist  maneuverer  whose 
endlessly  quoted,  quasi-delphic  utterances  could  be  (and 
have  been)  used  to  justify  the  most  contradictory  and  even 
counterposed  policies.  For  her  part  Chiang  Ching 
preached  puritanism  and  austerity  to  the  Chinese  masses, 
while  enjoying  to  the  full  a  luxuriant  lifestyle  that  would  be , 
fitting  for  a  Jacqueline  Kennedy  Onassis  or  a  Princess 
Grace  of  Monaco.  From  all  evidence  the  Maoist  "radicals" 
were  exceptionally  corrupt  and  vicious  cliquists,  even  by 
the  Byzantine  standards  of  the  Forbidden  City. 

All  the  "radical"  Maoist  rhetoric  about  "restricting 
bourgeois  right"  and  "putting  politics  in  command"  that 
captured  the  imagination  of  the  New  Left  was  nothing 
more  than  demagogy  which  the  Chinese  leaders  cynically 
used  to  rationalize  what  in  reality  were  intrabureaucratic 
and  internecine  dogfights.  It  all  originated  with  the  rupture 
between  the  USSR  and  China  in  1960,  when  the  Chinese 
Stalinist  leadership  felt  compelled  to  concoct  an  incredibly 
idealist  and  vulgar  "theory"  to  explain  how  "socialist" 
Russia  had  suddenly  become  "revisionist."  According  to 


Der  Spiegel 


Big-Character  poster  vilifies  "Gang  of  Four"  as  two- 
faced  "capitalist  readers"  bent  on  spreading  anarchy 
and  economic  chaos. 


Mao  and  his  then  "comrade-in-arms"  Liu  Shao-chi  (the 
head  of  state  and  number  two  man  in  the  party  hierarchy), 
under  "socialism"  a  "two-line  struggle"  continues  between 
the  genuine  revolutionaries  and  the  "revisionists"  whose 
policies,  if  implemented,  would  lead  inevitably  to  the 
restoration  of  capitalism.  Thus,  with  the  passing  of  Stalin, 
the  "revisionist"  Khrushchev  seized  power  in  a  palace  coup 
and  proceeded  over  the  next  several  years  to  open  the 
floodgates  to  all  the  crypto-"capitalist  readers"  who  had 
been  secretly  harboring  restorationist  ideas  but  were  afraid 
to  come  out  into  the  open.  Needless  to  say,  this  "theory" 
neglected  to  explain  why  Mao  only  got  Khrushchev's 
number  after  the  Sino-Soviet  rupture. 

It  was  during  the  Cultural  Revolution,  however,  that  this 
fairy  tale  was  elaborated  into  the  doctrine  of  "capitalist 
roadism."  Whereas  Stalin  claimed  that  all  his  real  or 
potential  enemies  in  the  bureaucracy  were  agents  of  Wall 
Street  or  Hitler,  Mao  "deepened"  this  method,  accusing  his 
rivals  within  the  Chinese  bureaucracy  of  having  bourgeois 
ideas,  i.e.  of  being  "capitalist  roaders."  In  a  bid  to  restore 
his  authority  that  had  been  damaged  after  the  fiasco  of  the 
"Great  Leap  Forward"  Mao  launched  the  Cultural 
Revolution  by  branding  Liu  Shao-chi  "China's  Khrush- 
chev" and  calling  for  the  purge  of  his  followers  who  were 
allegedly  leading  China  down  the  "capitalist  road." 

Maoist  rhetoric  about  "restricting  bourgeois  right" 
derived  from  the  need  to  explain  just  how  the  economic 
policies  pursued  by  Liu  Shao-chi,  Teng  Hsiao-ping  and 
Peng  Chen— restoration  of  private  peasant  plots  and 
return  to  a  free  market  in  agricultural  produce,  both 
designed  to  regain  the  peasants'  confidence  that  had  been 
lost  through  the  "Great  Leap"  disaster — could  lead  to  the 
restoration  of  capitalism.  Thus,  Mao  and  his  "closest- 
comrade-in-arms"  Marshal  Lin  Piao  charged  Liu  and  Teng 
with  advocating  the  primacy  of  material  incentives  and 
forgetting  about  the  "class  struggle."  By  "putting  produc- 
tion in  command"  Liu  and  Teng  were  said  to  have  been 
conspiring  to  put  a  new  bourgeoisie  in  power. 

TJiat  such  charges  were  sheer  demagogy  was  revealed 
most  starkly  when  Lin  Piao,  named  in  the  Chinese 
constitution  as  Mao's  heir  designate,  fell  out  of  favor  in  the 
Forbidden  City  in  1971.  After  Lin's  plane  reportedly  fell 
out  of  the  sky  over  Mongolia  the  deceased  former  "closest- 
comrade-in-arms"  of  the  Chairman  was  denounced  as  "a 
fanatical  advocate  of  'material  incentives'."  On  the 
contrary,  Lin  in  fact  had  been  a  champion  of  Maoist 
voluntarism.  During  the  Lin  Piao  period  ( 1 969-7 1 )  Chinese 
economic  policies  resembled  those  of  the  "Great  Leap," 
although  not  on  the  same  scale.  Private  peasant  plots  were 
curtailed  and  labor  was  mobilized  not  through  use  of 
material  incentives  but  through  direct  state  coercion. 

The  major  Maoist  tract  branding  support  for  material 
incentives  as  "capitalist  roadism"  is  the  article,  "On  the 
Social  Basis  of  the  Lin  Piao  Anti-Party  Clique,"  penned  by 
Yao  Wen-yuan,  Mao's  principal  literary  hatchet  man  (until 
he  got  axed  after  the  death  of  the  Chairman).  Here  is  the 
nub  of  his  argument: 

"If  we  do  not  follow  this  course  [restricting  bourgeois  right], 
but  call  instead  for  the  consolidation,  extension  and 
strengthening  of  bourgeois  right  and  that  part  of  inequality  it 
entails,  the  inevitable  result  will  be  polarization,  i.e..  a  small 
number  of  people  will  in  the  course  of  distribution  acquire 
increasing  amounts  of  commodities  and  money  through 
continued  on  next  page 


12 


SPARTACIST 


Egalitarianism... 

certain  legal  channels  and  numerous  illegal  ones;  capitalist 
ideas  of  amassing  fortunes  and  craving  for  personal  fame  and 
gain,  stimulated  by  such  'material  incentives,'  will  spread 
unchecked;  such  phenomena  as  turning  public  property  into 
private  property,  speculation,  graft  and  corruption,  theft  and 
bribery  will  rise;  the  capitalist  principle  of  the  exchange  of 
commodities  will  make  its  way  into  political  life  and  even 
into  Party  life,  undermine  the  socialist  planned  economy  and 
give  rise  to  such  acts  of  capitalist  exploitation  as  the 
conversion  of  commodities  and  money  into  capital  and  labor 
power  into  a  commodity;  and  there  will  be  a  change  in  the 
nature  of  the  system  of  ownership  in  certain  departments  and 
units  which  follow  the  revisionist  line;  and  instances  of 
oppression  and  exploitation  of  the  labouring  Jjeople  will 
once  again  occur." 

—Peking  Review,  7  March  1975 

What  Yao  does  here  is  a  causal  sleight-of-hand.  For 
Marx  and  Lenin  "bourgeois  right"  had  a  precise  and 
dehmited  meaning  in  terms  of  the  transitional  epoch.  It 
signified  the  continuation  of  differences  in  wages  and 
income  during  the  period  of  the  dictatorship  of  the 
proletariat.  But  under  the  rubric  of  "bourgeois  right"  Yao 
identifies  widening  wage  differentials  with  the  illicit 
accumulation  of  capital,  arguing  that  the  first  necessarily 
and  inexorably  leads  to  the  second.  This  is  a  specious 
argument. 

In  a  non-capitalist  state  such  as  the  USSR  or  People's 
Republic  of  China  wage  differentials  result  in  different 
levels  of  individual  consumption,  but  not  in  personal 
accumulation  of  the  means  of  production.  Even  the  often 
extravagant  incomes  (legal  and  otherwise)  received  by  the 
Stalinist  bigwigs  are  expended  mainly  on  high  living  (e.g., 
Brezhnev's  collection  of  foreign  cars,  Chiang  Ching's 
collection  of  foreign  films).  To  be  sure,  in  the  USSR  and 
China  instances  occur  when  state  administrators  are 
caught  selling  state  property  on  the  black  market.  But  such 
cases  of  individual  officials  going  into  business  for 
themselves  are  a  marginal  economic  phenomenon  (even  in 
Yugoslavia,  where  "market  socialism"  is  most  extensive); 
stiff  penalties  (including  capital  punishment)  serve  to 
discourage  such  "capitalist  roadism." 

Contrary  to  the  scenario  given  by  Yao,  quantitative 
changes  in  income  distribution,  important  as  they  might  be 
in  many  ways,  cannot  affect  the  class  character  of  the  state 
as  long  as  the  main  means  of  production  remain 
nationalized.  It  would  take  a  counterrevolution  that 
smashed  the  state  apparatus  and  subsequently  converted 
the  collectivized  property  back  into  privately  owned 
commodities  to  restore  capitalism  in  the  Soviet  Union, 
China  or  any  of  the  other  deformed  workers  states.  Such  a 
fundamental  overturn  in  property  relations  could  not  be 
produced  simply  through  the  molecular  economic  pro- 
cesses precipitated  by  widening  income  differentials. 

However,  what  Yao  and  Mao  were  really  concerned 
about  was  not  bureaucratic  parasitism  but  workers' 
demands  for  higher  wages.  Wages  had  remained  frozen  in 
China  since  1962,  even  though  the  1956  wage  code 
stipulated  that  general  raises  were  to  be  implemented  every 
other  year.  In  his  article  Yao  attributed  all  demands  for 
higher  wages  to  the  nefarious  influence  of  Lin  Piao: 

"A  principal  member  of  the  Lin  Piao  anti-Party  clique  also 
wrote  that  'the  principle  of  to  each  according  to  his  work  and 
of  material  benefit'  was  the  'decisive  motive  force'  in 


promoting  production.  On  the  face  of  it.  they  advocated 
using  money  to  'stimulate'  the  workers,  but  actually  they 
wanted  to  widen  without  limit  the  differences  in  grade  among 
the  workers  in  order  to  foster  and  buy  over  a  small  section  of 
•the  working  class,  turn  it  into  a  privileged  stratum  which 
betrays  the  proletarian  dictatorship  and  the  interests  of  the 
proletariat,  and  split  the  unity  of  the  working  class....  Lin 
Piao  and  company  attached  'particular  importance'  to  using 
'wages'  to  lure  'young  workers,'  and  their  'inducements- 
official  post,  emolument,  favour'  were  a  sinister  scheme. 
This  shows  us  by  negative  example  that  young  workers,  . 
particularly  those  who  have  become  cadres,  must  conscious- 
ly reject  the  material  inducements  of  the  bourgeoisie  and  the 
flattery  offered  them  in  various  forms  by  the  idea  of 
bourgeois  right." 

Thus,  while  claiming  to  stand  for  the  "unity  of  the  working 
class,"  Yao  actually  sought  to  justify  the  suppression  of  all 
'Wage  demands  by  the  Chinese  workers. 

A  few  months  after  Yao  wrote  this  article  the  Maoist 
regime  demonstrated  in  practice  itS"  hostility  to  legitimate 
wage  demands  by  the  workers.  In  the  summer  of  1975  a 
citywide  strike  erupted  in  the  major  textile-producing 
center  of  Hangchow,  near  Shanghai.' At  first  the  regime 
sent  Wang  Hung-wen,  one  of  Yao's  "radical"  cronies  and 
later  one  of  the  hapless  "Gang,"  to  Hangchow  to  try  to  talk 
the  strikers  back  to  work.  When  this  failed,  Teng  Hsiao- 
ping  personally  led  a  10,000-strong  PL  A  force  into 
Hangchow  and  smashed  the  strike.  When  confronted  by 
the  long-denied  economic  demands  and  struggles  of  the 
Chinese  workers,  all  wings  of  the  bureaucracy,  from  the 
phony  "egalitarians"  to  the  "rehabiHtated  revisionists," 
proved  to  be  united  in  their  commitment  to  preserving  their 
complete  political  stranglehold  over  the  atomized 
proletariat. 

Unlike  New  Left  radicals,  the  Chinese  working  class  was 
far  from  satisfied  with  a  steady  diet  of  egalitarian  rhetoric. 
If  anything,  the  Cultural  Revolution  left  the  mass  of 
Chinese  workers  in  an  even  worse  economic  situation  than 
before.  In  the  name  of  combatting  "capitalist  roadism"  the 
Maoist  regime  has  kept  wages  frozen;  in  1973  the  Chiang 
Ching  clique  evidently  put  a  stop  to  a  move  to  advance 
workers  in  the  bottom  five  wage  grades  one  rung  higher. 
Under  this  system  the  first  grade  provides  a  wage  of  30  yuan 
a  m9nth  and  the  top  grade  100  yuan  a  month,  a  wage  ratio 
comparable  to  that  in  the  USSR  (Far  Eastern  Economic 
Review,  27  January  1978). 

However,  the  fundamentally  inegalitarian  nature  of 
income  distribution  in  Mao's  China  is  revealed  not  so  much 


^  CHINA'S  THREE  WAGE  SCALES  ' 

GRADE 

RMB  PER  MONTH 

0  20  10  60  80  100       200        300       <»00  500 

1  1     J     1     1     1       ,.     1             1             ;             1  HMR 

TECHNICAL  

] 

 " — ^::^m 

ADMINISTRATIVE 

a 

WORKER 

SUMMER  1978 


13 


by  wage  differences  among  the  workers  as  by  the  income 
differentials  between  the  working  class  and  the 
administrative/technical  elite.  In  the  wage  system  copied 
from  the  USSR  by  Mao  in  1956  (and  retained  to  this  day) 
the  highest  technical  grade  receives  340  yuan  a  month  and 
the  top  administrative  grade  450  yuan  a  month.  In  Canton 
in  1974  the  lowest  grade  clerical  worker  received  only  35 
yuan  a  month  while  the  head  of  his  or  her  bureau  received 
an  official  salary  of  between  200  and  210  yuan  a  month— a 
ratio  of  about  six-to-one  (  Weltwirtschaftliches  Archiv,  No. 
4,  1976). 

Furthermore,  the  material  privileges  which  the  Chinese 
administrative  elite  enjoys  also  include  various  "fringe 
benefits."  For  manual  workers  sick  leave  up  to  one  month 
is  given  with  a  ten  percent  reduction  in  pay;  for  longer 
periods  pay  is  docked  at  a  rate  up  to  50  percent.  But 
administrators  are  granted  up  to  three  months  sick  leave 
with  no  loss  in  pay,  while  longer  absences  are  given  with 
only  a  10-30  percent  reduction  in  pay  (Far  Eastern 
Economic  Review,  28  January  1978).  And  these  are  only 
the  official  wage  and  benefit  scales.  Since  the  Chinese 
proletariat  has  no  institutionalized  control  over  the 
government  apparatus,  Chinese  enterprise  managers, 
heads  of  bureaus,  military  commanders  and  a  whole  host  of 
other  well-placed  bureaucrats  can  supplement  their  official 
incomes  by  all  kinds  of  petty  corruption  and  parasitism,  for 
example  using  state  vehicles  for  personal  errands.  Such 
inegalitarian  wage  scales  and  bureaucratic  parasitism  and 
mismanagement  are  inevitable  as  long  as  the  governmental 
administration  is  not  responsible  to  the  democratic 
organizations  of  the  working  class,  i.e.,  until  genuine  soviet 
democracy  is  established  through  a  proletarian  political 
revolution  that  topples  the  Chinese  Stalinist  bureaucracy. 

"Great  Disorder  Under  Heaven..."? 

To  rationalize  the  proposed  re-introduction  of  material 
incentives  the  new  Hua/Teng  leadership  has  made  hiuch 
ado  about  the  supposed  breakdown  in  labor  discipline  in 
China's  factories.  This  situation,  like  every  other  evil  (real 
or  fabricated)  that  has  befallen  China,  has  been  attributed 
to  the  misdeeds  of  the  nefarious  "Gang  of  Four,"  who 
allegedly  were  out  to  wreck  the  economy.  Typical  of  the 
tirades  against  the  voluntarist  idiocies  supposedly  promot- 
ed by  the  "Gang"  is  the  article,  "The  'Gang  of  Four'  Pushed 
Anarchism,"  which  reads  in  part: 

"The  'gang  of  four'  was  not  just  opposing  'kuan.  chia,  vo' 
[controlling  anarchist  tendencies,  curbing  capitalist  tenden- 
cies, suppressing  the  class  enemies'  sabotage]  but  was 
opposing  all  rules  and  regulations.  Chang  Chun-chiao  made 
this  clear  when  he  said:  'It  is  necessary  to  set  up  enterprises 

that  have  no  rules  and  regulations'  How  can  production 

go  on  in  a  large  enterprise  without  rules  and  regulations?  This 
is  common  knowledge.  Was  the  'gang  of  four'  really  ignorant 
of  this?  Of  course  not.  In  spreading  such  nonsense  as  they 
did,  they  aimed  at  throwing  the  national  economy  into  chaos 
il  SO  that  they  could  blame  others  for  it  and  seize  power  by 
P  taking  advantage  of  the  ensuing  chaotic  state  of  affairs." 
Peking  Review.  1  April  1977 

The  Western  bourgeois  press  has  generally  bought  the 
official  Peking  line  that  labor  morale  and  discipline  in 
China  has  gone  to  the  dogs  as  a  result  of  the  policies  of  the 
"Gang."  For  example,  the  Washington  Post  of  15  May 
1977  ran  an  article  entitled  "Post-Mao  Leaders  Battle 
'WPA  Atmosphere'  in  Factories."  Similarly,  one  of  the 


editors  of  the  prestigious  London  Economist  who  recently 
returned  from  a  tour  in  China  described  a  typical  Chinese 
factory  in  the  following  terms: 

"Half  the  work  force  was  not  there  at  all,  being  better 
occupied  in  the  town  burying  the  winter  cabbages  dumped  in 
already  frost-nipped  piles  along  the  city's  pavements.  The 
other  half  was  gently  ambling  on  with  its  job,  English-style, 
but  was  not  adverse  to  stopping  for  a  cigarette  and  a  peer  at 
the  inscrutable  occidentals  come  to  visit  them.  Work 
discipline  everywhere  in  our  industrial  plants  was,  to  put  it 
kindly,  relaxed . . ." 

—  Economist,  31  December  1977  ^ 

A  widespread  and  serious  deterioration  ,  in  labor 
discipline  is  always  a  sign  of  political  disaffection  with,  if 
not  opposition  to,  the  state  authorities.  After  the  Soviet 
invasion  of  Czechoslovakia  in  1968,  for  example,  the 
normally  industrious  Prague  factory  workers  began  to  take 
very  long  coffee  and  lunch  breaks,  and  productivity 
plummeted  as  a  result.  It  is  certainly  possible  that  in  China 
industrial  workers  have  responded  to  the  years  of  frozen 
wages  and  feverish  "ideological  campaigns"  that  consumed 
much  of  what  little  free  time  they  had  by  deliberately 
slacking  off  on  their  productivity.  Over  the  past  several 
years  at  least,  China  has  been  plagued  by  labor  unrest;  so 
volatile  and  violent  have  been  the  reported  strikes  and 
protests  since  the  death  of  Mao  and  the  purge  of  the  "Gang 
of  Four"  that  the  army  had  to  be  sent  to  occupy  several 
provinces. 

However,  the  accounts  of  the  Hua  regime  and  bourgeois 
"China  watchers"  about  how  lackadaisical  Chinese 
workers  have  become  cannot  be  taken  at  face  value.  It  is 
important  to  keep  in  mind  that  in  their  campaign  to  vilify 
the  "Gang  of  Four"  the  present  Chinese  rulers  have  a  real 
interest  in  exaggerating  all  the  "crimes"  supposedly 
committed  by  the  purged  four.  Moreover,  Peking  is  no 
doubt  exaggerating  the  problem  of  labor  discipline  in  order 
to  justify  the  proposed  widening  of  pay  differentials  and 
restoration  of  piece  rates  and  bonuses — anti-egalitarian 
measures  that  are  sure  to  be  unpopular  with  the  Chinese 
workers.  For  their  part  bourgeois  journalists,  who  have  no 
interest  in  seeing  labor  productivity  increased  in  China,  are 
predisposed  to  accepting  the  contention  that  the  Maoist 
"radicals"  destroyed  labor  discipline,  since  they  seek  to 
discredit  the  very  idea  that  socialist  consciousness  can  ever 
be  a  positive  factor  in  production. 

It  isn't  now  possible  to  ascertain  the  true  state  of  labor 
morale  presently  prevailing  in  China's  factories.  Even  if  the 
official  reports  of  high  absenteeism  and  low  labor 
productivity  were  accurate,  these  examples  are  selected  for 
a  tendentious  purpose.  It  is  also  necessary  to  bear  in  mind 
that  in  order  to  minimize  unemployment,  factories  in 
China  (like  those  in  the  USSR)  are  kept  overmanned  by 
capitalist  standards.  Thus,  the  impressionistic  comparisons 
with  West  European  or  Japanese  enterprises  which  are 
frequently  made  by  foreigners  who  visit  China  are  not  very 
meaningful. 

In  any  case,  changes  in  labor  productivity  on  a  national 
scale  are  very  difficult  to  measure.  Even  more  so  than  the 
Soviet  Union,  China  is  a  closed  society  in  which  the 
detailed,  comprehensive  statistics  required  to  compute 
labor  productivity  are  not  public  information  and  may  not 
even  exist  at  all.  However,  one  can  derive  a  rough  indirect 
index  of  labor  productivity  from  statistics  about  industrial 
continued  on  next  page 


14 


SPARTACIST 


Egalitarianism... 


output.  On  the  basis  of  statistics  compiled  by  the  Peking 
regime  the  well-respected  Far  Eastern  Economic  Review 
calculated  that  between  1969  (the  end  of  the  Cultural 
Revolution)  and  1973  industrial  output  in  China  increased 
by  58  percent  (Asia  Yearbook,  1975).  Such  a  significant 
increase  in  output  does  not  jibe  with  the  scenarios  of 
widespread  anarchy  in  factories  across  China  that  have 
been  promoted  by  the  regime. 

Differential  Wages  During  the  Transitional 
Epoch 

In  their  writings  on  moral  versus  material  incentives  and 
"restricting  bourgeois  right"  both  the  ideological  spokes- 
men of  the  current  so-called  "pragmatic"  regime  in  Peking 
and  the  "radical"  Maoists  confuse,  in  large  part  deliberate- 
ly, three  separate  questions. 
One  is  the  question  of  wage 
differentials  as  a  mechanism  for 
allocating  labor  between  dif- 
ferent occupations,  industries 
and  geographical  regions.  A 
second  and  related  question  is 
differential  wage  payments- 
piece  rates  and  bonuses — as  a 
means  of  securing  labor  disci- 
pline and  morale.  And  the  third 
is  the  relation  between  the 
incomes  of  the  administrative 
hierarchy  and  those  of  the  mass 
of  the  workers. 

Stalinist  "egalitarians"  like 
Guevara  and  Yao  attempt  to 
simply  identify  differential 
wages  with  capitalist  market 
relations.  All  their  talk  about 
"restricting  bourgeois  right" 
and  "moral  not  material  incen- 
tives" is  a  demagogic  cover  for 
state  coercion  in  the  allocation 
of  labor.  It  is  an  elementary 
proposition  of  Marxism — 
explicitly  stated  in  such  key 
works  as  Marx's  Critique  of  the 

Gotha  Program,  Engel's  Ami- DUhring  and  Lenin's  State 
and  Revolution — that  during  the  transitional  epoch  (the 
dictatorship  of  the  proletariat)  differential  wages  will 
continue  to  exist.  Income  differentials  continue  to  be 
needed  to  allocate  labor  between  different  occupations, 
industries  and  regions  without  having  to  resort  to 
administrative  coercion.  Given  that  material  scarcity  and 
cultural  attitudes  inherited  from  bourgeois  society  do  not 
immediately  disappear  under  the  dictatorship  of  the 
proletariat,  many  workers  will  not  take  the  time  and  effort 
required  to  acquire  new  skills  without  receiving  a  higher 
income  for  doing  so.  Similarly,  many  workers  will  not  take 
particularly  dangerous,  arduous  or  unpleasant  jobs 
without  receiving  significantly  higher  than  average  wages. 

In  addition  to  such  material  incentives,  a  workers  state 
would  also  have  recourse  to  moral  incentives  during  the 
transition  period.  A  revolutionary  regime,  elected  on  the 


basis  of  workers  councils  (Soviets),  would  have  the  moral 
authority  to  reduce  in  general  wage  differentials.  For 
example,  many  urban  youth  could  be  induced  to  take  jobs 
in  remote  or  backward  rural  areas  on  the  basis  of  socialist 
idealism  rather  than  higher  wages.  In  a  workers  state  the 
optimum  wage  structure,  including  the  best  mix  of  material 
and  moral  incentives,  would  be  determined  through  the 
institutionalized  mechanisms  of  workers  democracy,  in 
particular,  negotiations  between  the  central  labor  ministry 
and  the  trade  unions. 

In  contrast  to  this  socialist  norm,  in  China,  despite  all  the 
"radical"  Maoist  demagogy  about  "restricting  bourgeois 
right,"  industrial  workers  cannot  change  jobs  without 
official  approval — a  degree  of  state  coercion  in  the 
allocation  of  labor  that  is  reactionary  even  by  the  norms  of 
capitalism.  Likewise,  in  the  period  since  the  Red  Guards, 
were  smashed  in  1968  millions  of  urban  youth  in  China 
have  been  dispersed  throughout  the  countryside  to  perform 


Der  Spiegel 

Commune  in  Kwangsi  province:  Maoist  Utopian  voluntarism  is  rooted  in  the 
contradiction  between  the  great  material  backwardness  of  the  country  and  the 
Great  Power  ambitions  of  its  ruling  bureaucratic  caste. 

back-breaking  agricultural  labor.  Exhorted  by  the  regime 
to  "learn  from  the  peasantry,"  these  youth  went  to  the 
countryside  not  on  the  basis  of  Maoist  "moral  incentives" 
but  as  a  result  of  (or  under  the  threat  oO  state  coercion, 
which  for  the  Red  Guards  who  resisted  the  liquidation  of 
what  they  mistakenly  believed  were  the  egalitarian  goals  of 
the  Cultural  Revolution  meant  brutal  military  force. 

If  the  smashing  of  the  disillusioned  Red  Guards  and  the 
subsequent  suppression  of  proposed  wage  increases  for  the 
Chinese  workers  are  considered  victories  in  "restricting 
bourgeois  right,"  then  pro-"Gang"  Maoists  like  the 
Avakianite  RCP  should  love  the  methods  of  so-called 
"socialist  construction"  imposed  by  the  Pol  Pot  regime  in 
"Democratic  Kampuchea."  Why,  the  Maoist  "mass 
campaigns"  to  exorcise  the  evil  Confucian  spirit  that  was 
embodied  in  Lin  Piao  pale  in  comparison  with  how  the 
ruling  clique  in  Phnom  Penh  (whoever  they  are)  cleaned 


SUMMER  1978 


15 


out  "bourgeois  right"  in  Cambodia. 

After  consolidating  power  in  the  spring  of  1975  the 
Cambodian  StaHnists  emptied  the  capital  city  of  Phnom 
Penh  at  gunpoint  (other  cities  and  towns  were  depopulated 
in  a  similar  fashion  as  they  fell  to  the  Khmer  Rouge).  The 
urban  population — not  just  the  war  refugees  but  long-time 
city  dwellers,  including  the  elderly  and  sick— were  force- 
marched  into  the  countryside,  where  they  were  put  to  work 
in  rice  production  regardless  of  their  previous  occupation. 
According  to  several  Yugoslav  journalists  who  toured 
Cambodia  last  March  (the  first  foreigners  allowed  to  do  so 
since  the  Khmer  Rouge  came  to  power  three  years  ago), 
Cambodian  workers  are  not  permitted  to  leave  their 
assigned  farming  commune  or  even  their  production  team, 
and  youths  by  the  thousands  have  been  impressed  into  so- 
called  "voluntary"  mobile  labor  brigades  (New  York 
Times,  24  March  1978). 

Rather  than  using  material  incentives  for  particularly 
back-breaking  and  noxious  work  the  Cambodian  regime 
resorts  to  extensive  child  labor.  In  a  recent  very  revealing 
statement  Cambodian  President  Khieu  Samphan  declared: 
"Our  children  do  not  need  toys  which  were  formerly 
imported  at  considerable  cost.  They  are  happy  with  driving 
sparrows  away  from  the  crops,  tending  cattle  and  buffalo, 
collecting  natural  fertilizer  and  helping  to  build  dams  and 
digging  ditches." 

— quoted  in  London  Times,  7  February  1978 

As  for  the  second  question — differential  wage  payments 
to  impose  labor  discipline— Stalinist  "pragmatists"  like 
Hua  and  Teng  attempt  to  identify  differential  wages  as  a 
means  to  allocate  labor  with  differential  wage  payments  as 
a  means  of  securing  labor  discipline  and  goading  the 
workers  into  greater  productivity.  Communists  have  a 
fundamentally  different  attitude  toward  piece  rates  and 
bonuses  than  toward  occupational  or  sectoral  wage 
differences.  Piece  rate  wages  and  bonuses  for  productivity 
pit  one  worker  against  another  and  consequently  have 
always  been  fought  by  the  labor  movement  under 
capitalism.  As  Trotsky  remarked  about  the  retrogressive 
character  of  the  Russian  Stakhariovite  movement  launched 
in  1935,  "Relations  of  this  kind  are  farther  from  socialist 
morals  than  the  relations  of  the  workers  of  a  capitalist 
factory,  joined  together  as  they  are  in  a  struggle  against 
exploitation"  {Revolution  Betrayed). 

Stalinist  "pragmatists"  like  Teng  seek  to  justify  their 
anti-egalitarian  economic  policies  by  pointing  out  that 
Lenin  regarded  piece  rates  as  legitimate.  It  is  true  that 
during  the  catastrophic  economic  collapse  which  accom- 
panied the  horribly  destructive  civil  war  in  Russia,  at  a  time 
when  most  of  the  class-conscious  workers  had  been 
mobilized  to  the  military  fronts  and  their  places  in  the 
factories  were  taken  by  raw  peasants  drawn  from  the 
backward  countryside,  Lenin  advocated  the  introduction 
of  piece  rates  as  a  capitalist  production  technique  which, 
while  odious,  nevertheless  was  superior  to  the  primitive 
methods  of  "War  Communism."  However,  with  the  civil 
war  behind,  the  Soviet  Labor  Code  of  1922  provided  for 
M'ages  to  be  negotiated  between  the  trade  unions  and  the 
enterprise  management.  By  1928  piece  rates  covered  only 
34  percent  of  the  industrial  labor  force  (Margaret  Dewar, 
Labour  Policy  in  the  USSR,  1917-1928).  It  was  during 
Stalin's  break-neck  forced  industrialization  drive  of  the 
I930's  that  piece  rates  were  made  nearly  universal  in  the 
USSR  and  with  differentials  far  steeper  than  ever  before. 


Stakhanovism  served  to  enormously  widen  income 
differences  within  the  Russian  proletariat,  crystallizing  a 
labor  "aristocracy"  that  was  despised  by  the  mass  of  the 
workers. 

In  a  workers  state  socialist  consciousness,  integrally 
bound  up  with  soviet  democracy,  would  act  to  ensure  that 
work  is  performed  conscientiously.  To  be  sure,  even  in  a 
healthy  workers  state  there  will  be  some  loiterers  and 
shirkers.  But  such  errant  individuals  who  are  willfully 
negligent  can  best  be  dealt  with  through  the  organized 
social  pressure  of  their  fellow  workers;  the  few  incorrigibly 
ill-disciplined  workers  could  be  economically  penalized 
and,  perhaps  as  a  last  resort,  fired. 

If  the  Stalinist  "egalitarians"  and  "pragmatists"  each 
manipulate  for  their  own  purposes  the  separate  but  related 
questions  of  wage  differentials  among  the  workers,  they  are 
united  in  their  common  attempt  to  obfuscate  the  question 
of  income  differences  between  the  mass  of  workers  and  the 
administrative  hierarchy.  All  Stalinist  ideologues  discuss 
the  question  of  incentives  in  terms  of  the  population  in 
general,  making  no  distinction  between  the  mass  of 
workers  and  the  so-called  "socialist  intelligentsia"  (the 
bureaucrats).  Orthodox  Stalinist  ideologues  in  the  service 
of  Teng  and  Hua  use  the  general  principle,  "From  each 
according  to  his  work,"  to  rationalize  the  relatively 
extravagant  incomes  and  "fringe  benefits"  enjoyed  by  the 
administrative  elite.  Contrariwise,  the  Stalinist  "egalitari- 
ans" like  Guevara  and  Yao  seek  to  divert  attention  from  the 
bureaucracy's  material  privileges  by  belaboring  the  lack  of 
full  socialist  consciousness  among  the  masses. 

Neither  the  Stalinist  "egalitarians"  nor  the  "pragmatists" 
have  ever  advocated  the  genuinely  egalitarian  principle 
that,  as  a  norm,  the  income  of  a  socialist  administrator 
should  not  exceed  the  income  of  an  average  skilled  worker. 
In  his  seminal  work  State  and  Revolution  Lenin  presents 
this  as  one  of  the  basic  economic  principles  of  the 
transitional  society: 

"To  organize  the  whole  economy  on  the  lines  of  the  postal 
service  so  that  the  technicians,  foremen  and  accountants,  as 
well  as  all  officials,  shall  receive  salaries  no  higher  than  'a 
workman's  wage,'  all  under  the  control  and  leadership  of  the 
armed  proletariat — this  is  our  immediate  aim."  [emphasis  in 
original] 

Of  course,  such  a  programmatic  norm  is  not  always 
immediately  realizable.  If  a  workers  state  remains  isolated 
and  backward  (as  was  the  USSR  in  Lenin's  time),  then 
bourgeois  experts  can  be  expected  to  try  to  flee  to  the 
advanced  capitalist  countries,  and  all  the  more  so  if  their 
salaries  were  to  be  cut  to  correspond  to  the  earnings  of  a 
skilled  manual  worker.  Thus  in  the  USSR  under  Lenin 
and  Trotsky  bourgeois  specialists  desperately  needed  by 
the  beleaguered  regime,  including  foreigners,  were  paid 
continued  on  next  page 

WOMEN  AND  REVOLUTION 

published  by  the  Women's  Commission  of  the 
Spartacist  League 

$2/4  issues 

Make  checks  payable/mail  to: 
Spartacist  Publishing  Co.,  Box  1377,  G.P.O. 
New  York,  New  York  10001 

V  y 


16 


SPARTACIST 


Egalitarianism... 


relatively  high  salaries.  But  for  Lenin  and  Trotsky  such 
income  differentials  were  an  unfortunate  necessity, 
dictated  by  the  delay  of  the  revolution  in  the 
advanced  capitalist  countries.  Furthermore,  at  that  time 
bourgeois  specialists  in  the  employ  of  the  Bolsheviks  were 
not  given  posts  as  responsible  administrators  but  instead 
only  had  advisory  and  purely  technical  roles. 

In  a  workers  state  during  the  transitional  epoch  income 
differentials  between  the  mass  of  workers  and  the  technical 
specialists  will  persist  for  a  period  as  a  result  of  the  lack  of 
uniform  socialist  consciousness  conditioned  by  the 
continuation  of  conditions  of  material  scarcity.  However, 
in  a  workers  state  the  responsible  central  administrative 
hierarchy  would  be  selected  precisely  on  the  basis  of 
demonstrated  socialist  consciousness;  i.e.,  from  among 
those  who  offer  their  services  to  the  regime  out  of 
demonstrably  unselfish  motives.  Thus,  in  a  workers  state 
the  income  of  a  factory  manager  or  head  of  an  industrial 
ministry  would  not  be  determined  in  the  same  way  as  the 
salary  of  a  coal  miner  or  a  doctor  working  in  a  remote  rural 
area,  i.e.  by  the  labor  market. 

Material  incentives  as  a  means  to  keep  the  administrative 
personnel  honest  would  be  regarded  as  fundamentally 
inappropriate  in  a  workers  state.  Managers  or  other 
specialists  who  are  corrupt,  incorrigibly  negligent  or 
abusive  would  simply  be  removed  from  positions  of 
responsibility.  In  the  institutional  context  of  soviet 
democracy  the  most  effective  mechanism  for  keeping 
socialist  administrators  honest  is  workers  control:  the 
authoritative  consultative  voice  of  workers  at  the  point  of 
production.  It  is  the  workers  under  a  particular  administra- 
tor who  are  best  able  to  ensure  that  his  work  is  performed 
conscientiously. 

In  contrast,  in  the  Sino-Soviet  degenerated /deformed 
workers  states  the  economic  parasitism  of  the  administra- 


tors has  become  institutionalized.  Bureaucratic  parasitism 
has  been  at  the  heart  of  the  seemingly  interminable  debates 
over  economic  and  financial  decentralization,  from  the 
"Great  Debate"  in  Cuba  to  the  rigidly  controlled  discussion 
of  "Libermanism"  in  the  USSR. 

But  the  continual  shifts  in  the  level  of  centralization  in 
the  collectivized  economies  of  the  degenerated /deformed 
workers  states  can  never  solve  the  problem  of  managerial 
corruption  and  parasitism.  Rational  economic  planning 
and  administration  are  fundamentally  incompatible  with 
the  monopolization  of  political  power  by  a  bureaucratic 
caste.  Soviet  attempts  to  curb  managerial  parasitism  and 
inefficiency  provide  the  most  graphic  case  in  point. 

With  the  institution  of  the  first  Five  Year  Plan  in  1928 
managerial  incomes  were  geared  to  over-fulfilling  the 
planned  output.  However,  this  single,  crude  index  left  a  lot 
of  room  for  cheating  on  the  part  of  the  administrative 
authorities.  Thus.  Soviet  managers  routinely  understated 
the  real  productive  capacity  of  their  plants  so  as  to  be  given 
a  plan  that  could  be  easily  fulfilled  (and  hopefully  over- 
fulfilled), while  hoarding  labor  and  raw  materials  and 
willfully  sacrificing  assortment  and  quality  so  as  to 
maximize  output.  In  1965  the  Brezhnev/ Kosygin  regime 
instituted  an  economic  reform  that  was  motivated  by  the 
"principle":  if  you  can't  beat  'em,  join  'em.  A  complex 
system  was  instituted  in  the  USSR  which  directly  linked 
managerial  incomes  to  enterprise  "profitability."  But 
instead  of  eliminating  the  bureaucratic  evils  of  the 
old  system,  the  "Liberman"  reforms  simply  perpetuated 
them,  while  generating  others.  (For  a  detailed  analysis  of 
the  1965  Soviet  economic  reforms  see:  "How  Maoists 
'Restore  Capitalism'  in  the  Soviet  Union,"  in  the  Spartacus 
Youth  League  pamphlet  Why  the  USSR  Is  Not  Capitalist.) 

A  revolutionary  workers  government  would  be  able  to 
suppress  administrative  parasitism  as  a  significant  eco- 
nomic phenomenon.  It  thus  would  be  able  to  eliminate 
those  forms  of  financial  decentralization  now  employed  in 
the  Soviet  bloc  in  a  vain  attempt  to  counter  managerial 


Der  Spiegel 

Steel  mill  In  Anshan:  producing  23  million  tons  of  steel,  as  much  as  England.  Official  claim  that  labor  discipline 
collapsed  under  "Gang  of  Four"  flies  in  the  face  of  rise  in  China's  industrial  output. 


SUMMER  1978 


17 


corruption  and  inefficiency.  In  a  non-capitalist  state 
centralized  economic  planning  takes  on  an  unequivocably 
socialist  character  only  when  the  governing  authorities 
represent  the  rational,  democratically  determined  interests 
of  the  working  people.  Under  a  Stalinist  regime  greater 
economic  centralization  does  not  necessarily  possess  any 
such  socialist  virtues  and  may  be  largely  formal.  As 
demonstrated  by  Mao's  "Great  Leap"  debacle  and  Castro's 
1 0  million  ton  sugar  harvest  fiasco,  the  megalomania  of  the 
Stalinist  rulers  can  be  far  more  economically  disruptive 
and  wasteful  than  increased  competition  between  state 
enterprises. 

Not  much  remains  of  the  aura  of  radical  egalitarianism 
surrounding  the  "Third  World"  Stalinist  regimes,  it  has 
been  getting  increasingly  difficult  for  the  New  Left 
apologists  for  the  Chinese  and  Cuban  regimes  to  claim  that 
these  societies  are  somehow  profoundly  egalitarian.  When 
Castro's^Cuba  and  Mao's  China  have  experimented  with 


making  a  leap  out  of  commodity  production,  the  result  has 
been  increased  state  coercion  of  labor  and  rationing  for 
the  masses  followed  by  costly  fiascos  which  fall  hardest 
on  the  shoulders  of  the  workers  and  peasants.  In  this 
respect  the  truly  brutal  primitivism  of  Pol  Pot's  "Demo- 
cratic Kampuchea"  is  simply  the  most  extreme  expression 
of  Stalinist  economic  "egalitarianism." 

Genuine  economic  egalitarianism  is  not  possible  as  long 
as  political  power  is  monopolized  by  a  Stalinist  ruling 
oligarchy.  The  genuinely  egalitarian  use  of  moral  incen- 
tives requires  a  government  with  the  moral  authority 
derived  from  the  democratic  participation  of  the  working 
masses  expressed  through  soviet  institutions.  Wage  labor 
and  the  commodity  nature  of  consumer  goods  will  be 
overcome  through  the  appropriation  of  the  economic 
wealth  of  the  advanced  capitalist  world — the  fruit  of  the 
transitional  period  inaugurated  by  the  victory  of  the 
international  proletarian  revolution.  ■ 


Statement  of 
the  Trotskyist 
Faction 

With  the  following  statement,  members  of  the  Trotskyist 
Faction  of  the  British  Workers  Socialist  League  (WSL) 
resigned  from  the  WSL  at  its  February  18-19  Conference. 
The  Trotskyist  Faction's  programmatic  statements  on 
Ireland,  Turkey  and  the  general  document  "In  Defence  of  a 
Revolutionary  Programme"  had  indicated  a  large  measure 
of  agreement  with  the  Trotskyist  politics  of  the  internation- 
al Spartacist  tendency  (iSt).  After  several  weeks  of 
intensive  political  discussions,  the  Trotskyist  Faction  fused 
with  the  London  Spartacist  Group  of  the  iSf  to  form  a  new 
sympathizing  section  of  the  iSt,  the  Spartacist  League! 
Britain  (SL/  B). 

This  fusion  represented  a  major  confirmation  of  the  iSt's 
policy  of  revolutionary  regroupment  and  enabled  the  SL/ B 
to  launch  a  regular  newspaper,  Spartacist  Britain,  which 
reprinted  the  major  documents  of  the  ex-Trotskyist 
Faction  in  its  first  issue. 

The  debate  at  this  conference  has  exposed  in  the  clearest 
light  the  majority's  hostility  to  the  highest  task  of  Marxists 
today:  the  construction  of  an  international  cadre  hardened 
in  the  fight  for  a  communist  programme. 

The  counterposition  of  the  Bolshevik  position  of  the 
Trotskyist  Faction  to  the  hardened  right  centrism  of  the 
central  leadership  has  brought  forth  another  shameless 
defence  of  the  majority's  Pabloite  attachment  to  the 
Labour  Party,  their  capitulationist  attitude  to  nationalism, 
and  in  particular  Irish  nationalism,  their  all-pervading 
economism  and  minimalism  and  their  parochialism. 

It  is  apparent  that  the  fight  for  the  re-creation  of  the 


Fourth  International  can  only  take  place  in  implacable 
opposition  to  this  parody  of  Trotskyism.  Recognising  the 
fundamental  divergence  between  our  faction  and  all  other 
tendencies  within  the  Workers'  Socialist  League  that  has 
been  confirmed  this  weekend  we  resign  from  the  WSL. 

We  intend  to  immediately  open  discussions  with  the 
international  Spartacist  tendency,  with  the  aim  of  moving 
toward  a  fused  organisation.  Forward  to  the  British  section 
of  the  reforged  Fourth  International! 

Signers: 

1.  Eunice  Aktar,  WSL  1978,  Liverpool  Branch. 

2.  Richard  Brookes,  l.S.  1973-75,  WSL  1975-78,  Oxford 
General  Branch. 

3.  Carolyn  Dixon,  WSL  1977-78,  Birmingham  Branch. 

4.  E.,  WSL  1976-78.  London  Area  Committee,  Turkish  Group. 
Hackney  Branch. 

5.  F.,  WSL  1976-78,  Turkish  Group,  Hackney  Branch. 

6.  Alastair  Green,  l.S.  1973-74;  Left  Opposition  (ex-I.S.);  RCG 
1975;  founder  member  WSL,  1975-78,  West  Midlands  Area 
Committee,  Birmingham  Branch  chairman,  convenor  stu- 
dent fraction,  editorial  board  Socialist  Press. 

1.  Clive  Hills,  WRP  1973-76,  editorial  board  Keep  Left  (paper 
of  the  Young  Socialists,  youth  group  of  the  WRP);  WSL 
1976-78,  Oxford  Student/Trent  Branch. 

8.  Alan  Holford,  l.S.  1971-73  (expelled);  Revolutionary 
Opposition  (ex-I.S.)  1972-74;  founder  member  RCG  1974-75, 
Political  Committee;  founder  member  WSL  1975-78, 
National  Committee,  West  Midlands  Area  chairman, 
Birmingham  Branch  secretary,  convenor  of  Women's 
Commission. 

9.  Dewi  Jones,  WSL  1976-78,  Liverpool  Branch. 

10.  Mark  Kinker,  WSL  1977-78. 

11.  Leena,  Maoist  organisations  (Asia)  1972-74;  WSL  1977-78. 

12.  Paul  Lannigan,  SLL  1968-72,  Derry  Branch,  Northern 
Ireland,   Irish   National  Committee  (1968-70),  full-time 

continued  on  next  page 


18 


SPARTACIST 


Trotskyist  Faction 
Statement... 

organiser  Liverpool  SLL/YS  (  1970-72);  WSL  1977-78,  Irish 
Commission,  West  London  Branch. 

13.  Cath  McMillan,  WSL  1977-78.  Coventry  Branch.  ■ 

14.  Joe  Quigley,  Communist  Party  of  Great  Britain,  1969-70;  I. S. 
1970-74  (expelled);  Left  Faction,  Left  Opposition  (both  of 
i.S.);  RCG  1975;  founder  member  WSL  1975-78,  National 
Committee,  North  West  Area  secretary,  Manchester  Branch 
secretary,  Irish  Commission. 

15.  Jim  Saunders,  I.S.  1974-76;  WSL  1976-78,  London  Area 
Committee,  West  London  Branch  secretary,  Irish  Commis- 
sion„editorial  board  Socialist  Press,  Campaign  for  Democra- 
cy in  the  Labour  Movement,  organising  committee. 

16.  Mike  Shortland,  Young  Communist  League  1970-73;  IMG 
1975-76;  WSL  1977-78.  London  Area  Committee. 

17.  Robert  Styles,  WSL  1976-78. 

18.  Caroline  Walton,  WSL  1977-78,  Central  London  Branch. 

19.  Jo  Woodward,  I.S.  1972-74  (expelled);  Left  Opposition  (ex- 
I.S.);  WSL  1976-78,  Coventry  Branch. 

20.  Tim  Woodward,  I.S.  I972-74(expelled);  Left  Opposition(ex- 
I.S.);   WSL   1976-78,  West  Midlands  Area  Committee, 


Coventry  Branch  chairman,  convenor  NALGO  union 
fraction. 

21.  John  Zucker.  WSL  1976-78.  Birmingham  Branch. 


Another  comrade,  not  a  member  of  the  Trotskyist 
Faction,  resigned  together  with  the  faction  and  submitted 
the  appended  statement: 

Although  not  a  member  of  the  Trotskyist  Faction,  and 
with  some  reservations,  I  supported  their  main  perspectives 
document,  and  I  stand  by  that.  The  discussion  and  voting 
at  this  conference  have  confirmed  for  me  that  the  WSL  is 
not  to  be  budged  from  what  I  regard  as  its  fundamentally 
wrong  positions,  and  1  therefore  also  resign. 

Signed: 

T.,  WRP  1974-75,  expelled  as  part  of  the  Thornett  opposition; 
WSL  1975-78.  editorial  board  Socialist  Press,  London  Area 
Committee. 


WSL:  Workers  Socialist  League 
WRP:  Workers  Revolutionary  Party, 

formerly  the  SLL:  Socialist  Labour  League 
YS:  Young  Socialists,  youth  group  of  the  WRP 
RCG:  Revolutionary  Communist  Group 
LS.:  International  Socialists,  ^ 
now  the  SWP:  Socialist  Workers  Party 


The  founding  conference  of  the  Spartacist  League/Britain. 


SUMMER  1978 


19 


Mandel... 

(continued  from  page  5) 


slandering  their  own  com- 
rades and  refusing  to  publi- 
cize their  persecution  and 
even  assassination — Pablo 
&  Co.  also  instructed  Peng 
not  to  give  information 
concerning  this  witchhunt 
to  a  group  of  Vietnamese 
Trotskyists  who  were  re- 
turning to  their  country  to 
enter  the  party  of  Ho  Chi 
Minh.  Yet  Ho  was  himself 
responsible  for  the  assassi- 
nation of  Vietnamese  Trot- 
skyist  leader  Ta  Thu  Thau 
and  scores  of  Fourth  Inter- 


nationalists  who    led   the  Ouatneme  Internationale 

August     1945     uprising     Ta  Thu  Thau 
against  the  reimposition  of 

Western  colonial  rule!  The  group  of  Vietnamese  emigres 
returned  innocent  of  any  knowledge  of  the  Stalinist 
repression  being  carried  out  in  China — which  wc  uld  no 
doubt  have  dampened  their  enthusiasm  for  Pabl  "s  tactic 
of  "deep  entrism" — and  were,  never  heard  from  again. 

Peng  wrote  in  his  letter  that  he  had  considered  Mandel/ 
Germain  "one  of  the  most  promising  new  leaders  of  our 
movement,"  although  "I  had  also  noticed  his  lack  of 
penetrating  analysis  in  observing  various  problems,  his 
impressionist  temperament,  wavering  and  conciliationist 
spirit  manifested  very  often  on  important  problems,  and 
his  facility  in  modifying  his  own  positions."  It  was  the  latter 
characteristics — impressionism  and  cowardice — which 
drove  Mandel  into  the  arms  of  Pablo  and  ruined  him  as  a 
revolutionary  leader.  But  this  was  more  than  a  personal 
tragedy.  It  was  a  major  factor  in  allowing  Pablo  to  tighten 
his  bureaucratic  grip  on  the  FI  apparatus  and  ultimately  to 
destroy  it.  Mandel's  craven  political  capitulation  facilitated 
the  victory  of  Pabloist  revisionism  over  the  weak, 
disoriented  Fourth  International — the  political  destruc- 
tion of  the  world  revolutionary  instrument  founded  by 
Trotsky.  And  it  directly  sabotaged  the  urgently  needed 
defense  of  the  Chinese  Trotskyists,  who  to  this  day  remain 
in  Mao's  jails  (if  they  have  not  already  died  in  prison). 

Because  of  his  personal  weaknesses,  Mandel  became  not 
only  a  revisionist  but  a  traitor  to  the  Trotskyist  movement. 

Not  only  did  the  revisionist  program  of  Pabloism  mean 
liquidation  of  the  struggle  to  construct  a  Trotskyist 
vanguard,  it  was  soon  expressed  externally  as  well  in  a 
series  of  political  capitulatipns  to  Stalinism.  When  on  17 
June  1953  the  working  class  of  East  Berlin  rose  up  against 
their  bureaucratic  rulers — in  the  first  instance  against  the 
Russian  army  of  occupation — the  shock  waves  spread 
throughout  Europe.  Playwright  Bertold  Brecht,  a  long- 
time Communist  Party  member,  penned  an  epigraph  of 
bitter  irony  and  resignation:  according  to  the  authorities, 
"the  people  had  lost  the  confidence  of  the  government  and 
could  only  win  it  back  through  redoubled  effort.  Wouldn't 
it  be  easier  if  the  government  dissolved  the  people  and 
^^tecj  another."  What  was  the  response  of  Pablo's 
International  Secretariat  to  this  event,  the  first  abortive 
attempt  at  political  revolution  in  the  Soviet  bloc?  It  issued  a 


manifesto  calling  for  "real  democratization  of  the  Commu- 
nist parties" — i.e.  bureaucratic  self-reform — and  failed, 
deliberately,  to  call  for  the  withdrawal  of  Soviet  troops 
(Quatrieme  Internationale,  July  1953). 

Three  years  later  Pablo/ Mandel  &  Co.  repeated  this 
capitulation  to  the  Kremlin,  this  time  by  turning  their 
backs  on  the  Hungarian  workers  who  rose  up  against  the 
hated  secret  police  and  the  Russian  army.  Contrasting  this 
attempt  at  proletarian  anti-bureaucratig  revolution  unfa- 
vorably to  Poland,  these  fraudulent  "Trotskyists"  wrote 
that  the  absence  of  a  political  leadership  "provoked  exactly 
those  flaws  and  dangers"  which  Poland  had  avoided 
"thanks  to  the  leadership  role  played  by... the  Gomulka 
tendency ...  a  centrist  tendency  nonetheless  evolving  to  the 
left...."  {Quatrieme  Internationale,  December  1956). 
Again  the  perspective  was  that  of  pressuring  the  bureaucra- 
cy, supporting  one  wing  against  another,  and  not 
mobilizing  the  workers  around  an  independent  Trotskyist 
party. 

With  the  beginning  of  the  1960's,  however,  the  Pabloists' 
eyes  turned  toward 'the  so-called  "Third  World"  and  in 
particular  the  petty-bourgeois  nationalists  Ben  Bella 
(Algeria)  and  Castro.  While  recognizing  that  the  Cuban 
bourgeoisie  had  been  expropriated  as  a  class  with  the 
nationalizations  of  fall/winter  1960,  they  went  further  and 
gave  political  support  to  the  Castro  leadership.  In  this 
Pablo,  Mandel  et  al.  were  joined  by  the  American  SWP, 
which  in  1953  had  belatedly  but  firmly  rejected  the 
liquidationist  consequences  of  Pabloism.  The  SWP  put 
forward  a  document  ("For  Early  Reunification  of  the 
Trotskyist  Movement")  in  March  1963  which  stated:  "In  its 
evolution  toward  revolutionary  Marxism,  the  [Castroite] 
July  26  Movement  set  a  pattern  that  now  stands  as  an 
example  for  a  number  of  other  countries."  This  was  the 
founding  document  of  the  "United  Secretariat"  (USec) 
now  headed  by  Mandel. 

In  another  document  at  this  time  SWP  leader. Joseph 
Hansen  wrote  that  Cuba  was  a  workers  state  "lacking  as  yet 
the  forms  of  democratic  proletarian  rule."  It  certainly  was 
true  that  it  lacked  the  forms... and  the  substance.  In  fact, 
Castro  and  Guevara  proved  this  quite  conclusively  by 
jailing  the  Cuban  Trotskyists  in  1963.  Trotsky's  book. 
Permanent  Revolution,  was  proscribed  and  the  printing 
plates  containing  the  offending  text  were  smashed  on  the 
presses!  Guevara,  the  USec's  special  favorite,  even 
continued  on  next  page 

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20 


SPARTACIST 


Mandel... 


suggested  that  the  Trotskyists  were  Yankee  agents,  noting 
that  they  had  long  had  influence  in  the  city  of  Guantanamo 
(near  the  U.S.  base).  But  at  this  very  moment  Mandel  was 
meeting  with  Guevara  at  the  ministry  of  industry  and 
counseling  "my  friend  'Che'"  on  economic  policies.  And 
what  was  he  advising  the  "heroic  guerrilla"-to-be?  Was  he 
"fighting  for  workers  democracy"  in  the  corridors  of 
power,  perhaps?  Hardly.  Here  is  what  Mandel  wrote  in  the 
journal  of  Guevara's  ministry,  Nuestra  Industria: 

"The  more  underdeveloped  a  country's  economy ...  the 
wiser  it  is  in  our  opinion  to  reserve  decision-making  power 
over  the  more  important  investments  and  fmancial  matters 
to  the  central  authorities." 

— "Mercantile  Categories  in  the  Period  of 
Transition,"  in  Bertram  Silverman,  ed.,  Man  and 
Socialism  in  Cuba 

This  is  an  unalloyed  apology  for  the  extremely  irrational 
economic  "planning"  by  the  Cuban  bureaucracy,  where 
decisions  were  so  centralized  that  everything  was  decided 
by  the  Hder  mdximo  from  the  saddle  of  his  jeep. 

The  Stalinist  repression  did  not  faze  the  Pabloists.  It 
seemed  nothing  could.  Thus  when  Castro  launched  his 
famous,  frothing  attack  against  Trotskyism  at  the  1966 
Tricontinental  Congress  in  Havana,  USec  leader  Hansen 
wrote  that, 

"however  much  it  satisfied  the  right-wing  CP  leaderships,  it 
was  taken  by  all  vanguard  elements  with  any  real  knowledge 
of  the  Trotskyist  movement  as  at  best  a  mistaken  identifica- 
tion of  Trotskyism  with  the  bizarre  sect  of  J.  Posadas  and  at 
worst  nothing  but  a  belated  echo  of  old  Stalinist  slanders,  the 
purpose  of  which  remained  completely  obscure." 

— International  Socialist  Review,  November- 
December  1967 

For  the  proletarian  militants  who  had  been  locked  up  in 
Castro's  prisons  the  purpose  of  his  attack  was  not  at  all 
obscure.  The  USec  apologists  for  Cuban  Stalinism  were 


right  about  one  thing,  however.  In  denouncing  Trotskyism 
Castro  was  directing  his  fire  not  at  them  but  at  those  who 
call  for  political  revolution  to  overthrow  this  bonapartist 
regime  and  replace  it  with  the  democratic  rule  of  Soviets. 
Any  equation  of  the  capitulationist  policies  of  the  USec 
with  this  Marxist  program — uniquely  upheld  by  the 
international  Spartacist  tendency — is  clearly  a  case  of 
mistaken  identity.  If  the  charge  is  Trotskyism  then  Ernest 
Mandel  can  plead  in  good  conscience:  "Not  guilty!" 

From  Guerrillaism  to  Popular  Frontism 

The  principal  focus  during  the  late  1960's  of  the 
Mandelites'  quest  for  a  shortcut  to  fame  and  fortune  was 
the  Castroite  movement  in  Latin  America.  Thus  a 
resolution  passed  at  the  USec's  "Ninth  World  Congress"  in 
1969  stated  point-blank: 

"Even  in  the  case  of  countries  where  large  mobilizations  and 
class  conflicts  in  the  cities  may  occur  first,  civil  war  will  take 
manifold  forms  of  armed  struggle,  in  which  the  principal  axis 

for  a  whole  period  will  be  rural  guerrilla  warfare  " 

— "Draft  Resolution  on  Latin  America,"  in  [SWP] 
International  Information  Bulletin,  January  1969 

The  first  task  of  USec  supporters  in  Latin  America, 
therefore,  would  be:  "(a)  Integration  into  the  historic 
revolutionary  current  represented  by  the  Cuban  revolution 

and  the  OLAS  "  This  was  in  essence  the  same 

liquidationist  perspective  put  forward  in  the  early  1950's  by 
Pablo — only  the  recipient  of  the  political  flattery  and 
capitulations  had  changed. 

Mandel,  as  is  his  wont,  expressed  himself  more 
circumspectly  on  the  subject  of  guerrillaism  than  gung-ho 
"pick-up-the-gun"  Guevarists  like  Livio  Maitan.  But  as  to 
the  continuity  of  Pabloist  methodology  Mandel  was 
certainly  frank;  in  an  article  on  "The  Place  of  the  Ninth 
Wory  Congress  in  the  History  of  the  Fourth  Internation- 
al" (1969),  he  wrote: 

"The  situation  began  to  change  in  the  course  of  the  I960's  and 
it  was  the  French  May  1968  which  most  clearly  revealed  this 


SPARTACIST 


edicidn  en  espafiol 


50  us 


•  INo  al  franquismo  «reforniado»! 

•  «Extrema  izquierda»  y  las  elecciones  Suirez 

•  OTR  chitena  fusiona  con  tendencia  espartaquista 

•  Fu$i6n  de  SL/U.S.  y  Red  Flag  Union 

•  «La  Pasionai1a»:  iVoz  de  resistencia  o  eco  de  traicldn? 


Giros/cheques  a: 
Spartacist  Publishing  Co. 
Box  1377,  GPO/NY,  NY  10001  USA^ 


SUMMER  1978 


21 


change. . . .  The  Ninth  World  Congress  sought  to  bring  this 
change  to  the  attention  of  the  entire  international  revolu- 
tionary movement. 

"The  most  striking  trait  of  the  change  is  the  appearance  of  a 
new  revolutionary  vanguard  on  a  universal  scale  which  has 
completely  escaped  from  the  control  of  the  Stalinist  and 
reformist  apparatuses  and  is  organized  autonomously,  The 
first  important/signs  of  this  new  phenomenon  go  back  quite  a 
ways:  the  'July  26  Movement,'  which  led  the  guerrilla 
struggle  which  overthrew  the  Batista  dictatorship  indepen- 
dently of  the  CP  and  of  all  traditional  organizations  of  the 
Cuban  left  " 

"This  turn  is  not  only  a  turn  toward  the  creation  of 
independent  organizations,  capable  of  serving  as  poles  of 
attraction  for  the  militants  of  the  new  vanguard  who  are 
neither  reformists  nor  Stalinists,  and  who  seek  to  regroup 
nationally  and  internationally.  It  also  implies  a  change  of 
accent  as  to  the  principal  forms  of  activity  of  the  movement. 
In  this  sense  it  has  the  same  importance  as  the  turn  outlined 
by  the  Third  World  Congress,  but  at  a  much  more  advanced 
stage  of  construction  of  the  International." 

The  Third  Congress  of  the  Fourth  International  was  when 
Pablo  first  elaborated  his  plans  for  "deep  entry"  into  the 
mass  Stalinist  and  social-democratic  parties.  Mandel  goes 
on: 

"At  the  Third  World  Congress  it  was  a  question  of  breaking 
with  essentially  isolated  activity  and  integrating  into  the 
revolutionary  mass  movement.  At  the  Ninth  World  Congress 
it  was  a  question  of  breaking  with  an  essentially  propagandist 
practice  —i.e.,  centered  on  criticizing  the  betrayals  and  errors 
of  the  traditional  leaderships-^. ..  and  of  passing  over  to  a 
phase  where  we  are  capable  of  undertaking  revolutionary 
initiatives,  within  the  mass  movement." 

—  La  longue  marche  de  la  revolution  (1976) 

In  both  cases  the  essence  of  the  "tactic"  was  capitulation 
befol-e  alien  class  forces.  The  American  SWP  under 
Hansen  objected  to  the  "guerrilla  turn"  of  the  "Ninth 
Congress,"  but  only  because  it  wanted  to  make  a  bloc  with 
liberals  opposed  to  the  Vietnam  war.  Democratic  Party 
"doves"  were  not  about  to  get  on  a  platform  with 
supporters  of  "terrorism"  in  Latin  America.  The  Mandel- 
ites  were  not  able  to  cash  in  on  their  maneuver,  however. 
Castro's  OLAS  never 
did  anything  to  organize 
"two,  three,  many  Viet- 
nams"  after  Guevara's 
debacle  in  Bolivia.  And 
the  two  main  USec 
groups  engaged  in  guer- 
rilla struggle  defected: 
the  Bolivians  to  join 
the  Castroite  ELN  en 
masse,  and  the  Argen- 
tine PRT  splitting  from 
Mandel  &  Co.  in  1973. 

As  it  became  clear 
that  there  was  no  short- 
cut to  power  in  La  Paz 
or  Santiago  by  heading 
for  the  hills,  the  pro- 
Moscow  Communist 
parties  revived  their 
refrains  of  a  "peaceful 
road."  In  Chile  the 
vehicle  was  to  be  the 

Ui\idac^l(*opular  (UP),  a  popular  front  of  the  Communist 
ana'Ȥocialist  parties  together  with  small  bourgeois  parties, 
which~"was  headed  by  Salvador  Allende.  Meanwhile  in 


Ho  Chi  Minh 


Roger  Pic 


Europe,  in  the  aftermath  of  the  1968-69  working-class  and 
youth  upsurge  the  reformists  were  looking  for  means  to 
head  off  a  mass  radicalization  with  revolutionary  implica- 
tions. Their  answer  was  a  new  wave  of  popular  frontism: 
the  French  Union  of  the  Left,  the  Italian  CP's  strategy  of  an 
"historic  compromise." 

The  Chilean  experience  was  pivotal.  In  a  certain  sense  it 
was  a  bridge  from  the  guerrillaism  of  the  late  1960's  to  the 
popular  frontism  of  the  1970's.  It  was  also — and  most 
importantly— the  battleground  on  which  the  drama  of  the 
popular  front  was  played  out  to  the  bitter  finale.  The 
"peaceful  road"  ended  in  a  bloodbath.  The  responsibility  of 
the  Stalinists  and  social  democrats,  who  preached  faith  in 
the  officer  corps  and  "democratic"  bourgeoisie,  is  patent. 
But  neither  does  Ernest  Mandel's  United  Secretariat  have 
clean  hands.  First  its  Chilean  supporters  hailed  AUende's 
1970  electoral  victory.  Then,  a  year  later,  the  USec  itself 
issued  a  "unanimous"  statement  terming  the  UP  a  popular 
front  and  even  declaring: 

"Complete  independence  must  be  maintained  with  regard  to 
the  popular  front  coalition.  Revolutionists  cannot  partici- 
pate in  such  a  coalition  even  by  offering  it  electoral  support. 
(Revolutionary  Marxists  can,  in  certain  situations,  vote  fora 
labor  candidate  but  not  for  a  candidate  of  a  front  that 
includes  petty-bourgeois  and  bourgeois  parties.)" 
Intercontinental  Press,  21  February  1972 

This  policy  was  put  forward  only  by  the  international 
Spartacist  tendency  at  the  time  of  the  1970  Chilean 
elections.  Moreover,  at  no  time  since  then  has  the  USec 
refused  to  vote  for  all  popular  front  candidates.  But  this 
curious  declaration  does  indicate  that  they  are  not  ignorant 
of  the  orthodox  Trotskyist  policy  toward  popular 
fronts. .  .just  opposed  to  it.  In  any  case,  none  of  the  several 
groups  of  Chilean  USec  supporters  ever  carried  out  this 
policy.  And  in  September  1973,  on  the  morrow  of  the 
Santiago  coup,  a  "Draft  Political  Resolution"  by  the 
usee's  Mandelite  majority  reversed  its  previous  verdict  on 
the  UP,  declaring: 

". . .  from  the  start,  it  differed  from  a  classical  Popular  Front 
regime  by  the  fact  that  it  openly  proclaimed  its  resolve  to 
enter  on  the  road  of  socialism,  and  that  it  openly  based  itself 
on  the  organized  workers  movement." 

— [SWP]  International  Internal  Discussion  Bulletin, 
October  1973 

This  deliberate  confusionism,  designed  to  cover  up  the 
usee's  total  failure  to  present  a  revolutionary  alternative  to 
Allende  ,&  Co.,  was  soon  compounded  in  Europe.  In 
France  in  1973,  the  Mandelite  LCR  called  for  votes  to  the 
Union  of  the  Left  on  the  second  round  in  parliamentary 
elections;  in  1974  it  called  for  votes  on  the  second  round  for 
the  single  candidate  of  the  popular  front  for  the  presidency 
(Mitterrand);  in  1977  it  called  for  votes  for  Union  of  the 
Left  slates  (including  bourgeois  Left  Radical  candidates) 
on  the  second  round  of  municipal  elections,  and  with  the 
scantiest  of  fig  leaves  called  for  abstention  only  where  the 
slate  was  headed  by  a  Radical. 

Similarly  in  Italy  the  USec  section  ran  candidates  on  the 
Democrazia  Proletaria  ticket  in  the  June  1976  parliamen- 
tary elections.  While  standing  to  the  left  of  the  Communist 
Party's  program  for  a  coalition  with  the  Christian 
Democrats,  the  DP  advocated  a  Chilean-style  popular 
front  with  the  minor  republican  and  secular  parties  of  the 
bourgeoisie.  And  irl  Portugal  not  only  did  Mandel's 
disciples  join  a  front,  the  FUT,  which  supported  and  had 
continued  on  next  page 


22 


SPARTACIST 


Mandel... 


the  blessing  of  a  wing  of  the  Armed  Forces  Movement;  but 
in  the  June  1976  presidential  elections  USec  Mandelite 
superstar  Krivine  advocated  voting  for  Otelo  de  Carvalho, 
a  general  of  the  bourgeois  officer  corps! 

From  being  handmaidens  of  the  Kremlin  in  the  1950's 
and  cheerleaders  for  the  Castroites  in  the  1960's,  these 
inveterate  renegades  from  Trotskyism  had  become  a  left 
pressure  group  on  the  popular  fronts  of  the  I970's. 

Labels 

When  the  United  Secretariat  was  formed  in  1963,  both 
parties  agreed  to  let  "bygones  be  bygones,"  and  differences 
over  China,  "deep  entrism"  and  other  disputed  questions 
were  declared  off-limits.  However,  with  the  first  signs  of 
mass  radicalization  all  the  old  differences  resurfaced,  with 
the  SWP  and  its  satellites  squaring  off  against  Mandel  and 
friends  (the  old  guard  of  Pablo  lieutenants).  The  result  was 
a  factional  struggle  in  the  USec  that  lasted  from  1969  to 
1977,  with  bitter  public  attacks  on  each  other  by  the  SWF- 
led  reformist  minority  and  the  centrist  International 
Majority  Tendency  (I  MT).  When  the  IMT  opened  the  door 
last  year  to  dissolution  of  the  factions,  by  backing  off  from 
its  previous  support  to  Guevarist  guerrillaism,  it  was  with 
the  understanding  that  previous  factional  documents 
would  be  relegated  to  the  status  of  "historical  material." 

Thus  even  though  there  is  a  real  approximation  of 
political  appetites  between  the  ex-IMT  and  the  SWP 
during  this  popular  front  period,  the  USec  remains  a  rotten 


bloc.  It  is  not  surprising,  then,  that  Mandel  should 
periodically  propose  to  abandon  his  phony  "Fourth 
International"  altogether,  in  favor  of  polymorphous 
groupings  of  the  broad  "far  left."  Such  perverse  creatures 
would  unite  virulently  anti-Soviet  Maoists,  ostensible 
Trotskyists  and  syndicalist-spontaneists,  with  the  only 
possible  political  basis  being  the  desire  to  pressure  a  larger 
popular  front  of  the  traditional  workers  parties  to  the  left. 
Thus  in  an  interview  with  a  Spanish  leftist  review  in  late 
1976  Mandel  stated: 

"In  my  opinion  the  future  of  the  revolutionary  movement  is 
in  the  kind  of  groups  which  are  broader  than  those  which  call 
themselves  Trotskyist.  Groupings  which,  however,  unite 
with  sections  of  the  Fourth  International." 
-Topo  Viejo.  November  1976 

A  few  months  earlier  Mandel  had  floated  the  same 
concept  in  a  dialogue  with  the  left  wing  of  the  French  PSU, 
led  by  none  other  than  Michel  Pablo.  Asked  if  the  French 
LCR  wasn't  closer  to  some  of  the  Italian  Mao-syndicalist 
groups  than  to  the  American  SWP,  Mandel  responded: 
". . .  the  real  debate  is  not  over  the  label,  the  organizational 
framework,  the  statutes,  the  human  relations  or  references  to 

a  fellow  with  a  beard  named  Leon  Trotsky  

"What  difference  do  labels  make?  If  we  should  find  in  the 
political  arena  forces  which  agreed  with  our  strategic  and 
tactical  orientation,  and  which  were  only  put  off  by  the 
historical  reference  and  the  name,  we  would  get  rid  of  the 
latter  inside  of  24  hours." 

-  Politique  Hehdo,  \(i-\b  iunt 

PSU  left-wing  leader  Yvan  Craipeau,  himself  a  former 
Trotskyist,  responded  that  it  was  not  enough  to  change 
labels:  it  was  necessary  to  renounce  the  Leninist  conception 
of  the  party  as  well. 


Tor  Mao,  the  Cultural  Revolution  was  a  cynical  maneuver  to  recover  authority  lost  to  party  enemies  during  the' 
"Great  Leap"  disaster. 


SUMMER  1978 


23 


Does  this  kind  of  maneuver  offer  the  USec  jugglers  an 
effective  means  of  reaching  the  "new  vanguard,"  and  subtly 
gaining  hegemony  over  it?  One  only  has  to  cast  a  brief 
backwards  glance  to  observe  the  results  of  past  attempts  of 
this  sort.  The  archetype  of  such  a  centrist  grouping  in  the 
recent  past  is  the  Chilean  MIR,  a  Castroite  group  set  up  in 
1965  with  the  active  intervention  of  the  USec  affiliate  led  by 
Luis  Vitale.  All  the  "labels"  were  abandoned  (Fourth 
International,  Trotskyism,  permanent  revolution, 
deformed/degenerated  workers  states),  but  on  the  basis  of 
a  vague  left-of-the-CP  program  the  USec's  World  Out- 
look (17  September  1965)  declared  the  MIR  the  "most 
important  Marxist-Leninist  party  yet  to  be  formed  in 
Chile...." 

Less  than  two  years  later,  however,  the  MIR  leadership 
began  systematically  purging  all  "Trotskyists,"  soon 
including  Vitale  and  other  top  leaders.  Undaunted,  the 
European  Mandelites  (and  the  expelled  Vitale)  continued 
flattering  their  centrist  creation,  and  it  was  partly  in  order 
to  stay  close  to  the  MIR  that  the  IMT  took  a  position  of  de 
facto  "critical  support"  to  the  UP.  The  Latin  American 
commission  of  the  French  LCR  protested  against  the 
December  1971  USec  resolution  on  Chile  (quoted  above) 
because  of  its  mild  criticisms  of  the  MIR,  claiming  that  the 
latter  had  "an  absolutely  clear  position  on  the  question  of 
permanent  revolution"  and  "the  influence  of  Trotskyist 
positions"  ([SWP]  International  Internal  Discussion 
Bulletin,  February  1973).  The  Mandelites  criticized  their 
own  fraternal  organization  in  Chile  as  worse  than  the  MIR, 
and  have  frequently  raised  large  sums  for  the  Castroites 
while  leaving  their  comrades  begging  for  crumbs! 

But  the  classic  example  of  the  kind  of '*broad"  grouping, 
"including  Trotskyists,"  of  which  Mandel  dreams  is  the 
'  Spanish  POUM,  established  in  1935  as  a  fusion  of  the 
Communist  Left  (headed  by  Andres  Nin)  and  Joaquin 
Maurin's  Workers  and  Peasants  Bloc.  It  too  dropped  the 


labels,  and  took  ambiguous  positions  on  the  nature  ot 
Stalin's  Russia,  popular  frontism  and  other  vital  issues. 
Trotsky's  answer  to  this  was  to  break  all  political  ties  to  the 
renegade  Nin  and  to  call  for  a  vigilant  struggle  within  the 
Fourth  Internationalist  movement  against  those  sympa- 
thetic to  the  POUM  and  similar  centrist  roadblocks.  With 
its  vacillations,  this  unstable  amalgam  became  the  worst 
enemy  of  proletarian  revolution  in  Spain,  Trotsky  wrote. 
And  that  is  precisely  what  would  become  of  the  products  of 
Mandel's  opportunist  "regroupments"  if  they  succeeded  in 
gaining  mass  support. 

Objectivism  and  Capitulators 

In  the  last  two  years  the  major  new  development  on  the 
European  left  has  been  the  appearance  of  a  Eurocommu- 
nist  current.  As  one  might  expect  from  Mandel,  ever  ready 
to  tail  after  a  new  rage,  the  USec  leader  saw  this  process  as 
possibly  leading  to  a  conversion  of  longtime  Stalinist  hacks 
like  Santiago  Carrillo  into  Leninists!  In  the  second 
installment  of  the  Topo  Viejo  interview  quoted  previously, 
Mandel  refers  to  the  contradiction  between  the  "positive 
and  negative  aspect"  of  the  rise  of  Eurocommunism: 

"The  leading  comrades  of  the  Communist  Party,  especially 
its  worker  cadres,  must  take  on  [this  contradiction]  and 
resolve  it;  and  1  hope  and  believe  that  they  will  be  capable  of 
resolving  it  positively,  in  the  sense  of  returning  to  the  path  of- 
revolutionary  Marxism. 

"Eurocommunism  is  a  policy  of  transition,  although  no  one 
knows  what  to  or  where  to.  Perhaps  it  represents  a  transition 
to  the  reabsorption  of  the  Communist  parties  by  social 
democracy,  something  which  in  my  opinion  is  rather 
unlikely,  but  not  totally  impossible.  Perhaps  it  will  be  a 
transition  to  a  new  Stalinism.  And  also— why  not?— it  could 
be  a  transition,  on  the  part  of  the  worker  cadres  of  the  pa  ' ty, 
to  a  reacquaintance  with  revolutionary  Marxism,  vvith 
Leninism." 

—  Topo  Viejo,  December  1976 

continued  on  next  page 


24 


SPARTACIST 


Mandel 


This  brings  us  right  back  to  1950's  vintage  Pabloism, 
seeing  the  "leading  comrades"  of  the  CPs  as  perhaps 
salvageable  for  the  revolution.  Thus  once  again  independ- 
ent Trotskyist  parties  and  an  authentic  Fourth  Internation- 
al built  in  struggle  against  Stalinism,  social  democracy  and 
all  varieties  of  centrism  are  superfluous  (mere  "labels"  to  be 
discarded  in  the  course  of  organizational  maneuvers).  But 
it  should  be  obvious  even  to  those  unfamiliar  with  the 
various  ostensibly  Trotskyist  groups  that  there  is  some- 
thing grievously  amiss  with  a  "Trotskyist"  who  does  not 
seek  to  build  Trotskyist  parties  and  a  Trotskyist  interna- 
tional. The  sickness  is  diagnosed  as  Pabloist  liquidation- 
ism,  and  Ernest  Mandel  is  one  of  the  prime  carriers. 

Mandel's  political  revisionism  is  closely  linked  to  his  eco- 
nomics, which  are  marked  by  a  fundamental  objectivism. 
In  the  early  1950's  he  argued  that  "the  relation  of  forces 
has  evolved  decisively  in  favor  of  the  anti-capitalist  camp." 
Thus  by  lining  up  with  the  pro-Soviet  parties  one  would  be  in 
position  to  capture  leadership  of  the  revolutionary  mass 
movements  which  would  inevitably  be  generated  by  the 
CPs.  At  the  same  time  he  argued  that  the  restoration  of 
capitalism  in  the  USSR  "is  no  longer  in  the  realm  of  the 
possible"  in  the  short  run  ("Decline  and  Fall  of  Stalinism," 
resolution  presented  to  the  Pabloist  "Fifth  World  Con- 
gress," Quatrieme  Internationale,  December  1957). 

In  the  mid-1960's  version  of  this 
objectivism,  Mandel  asserted  that 
capitalism  "will  not  again  experi- 
ence new  crises  such  as  1929" 
{Temps  Modernes,  August- 
September  1964).  Consequently 
under  "neocapitalism"  the  transi- 
tional program  was  transformed 
into  a  smorgasbord  of  "anti- 
capitalist  structural  reforms."  This 
objectivism  is  at  the  very  heart  of  his 
outlook.  Thus  the  opening  sentence 
of  his  Introduction  to  Marxist 
Economic  Theory  reads:  "In  the  last 
analysis,  every  step  forward  in  the 
history  of  civilization  has  been 
brought  about  by  an  increase  in  the 
productivity  of  labor."  Contrast 
this,  for  example,  with  the  Commu- 
nist Manifesto,  which  states  equally 
succinctly:  "The  history  of  all 
hitherto  existing  society  is  the 
history  of  class  struggles." 

One  of  the  best  examples  of 
Mandel's  politico-economic  objec- 
tivism is  his  January  1953  letter  to 
Jean-Paul  Sartre,  written  under  the 
impact  of  the  Chinese  revolution: 

"For  us  the  nature  of  a  period  is  not 

determined  in  the  first  instance  by 

the  leadership  of  the  mass  move- 
ment but  by  its  extent. . . .  Never  in 

the  history  of  capitalism  has  there 

been  a  period  during  which,  over 

the  entire  globe,  the  number  of 

participants,    the   violence  and 

extent  of  this  mass  movement 


have  been  as  considerable  as  today.  That  is  why  we  consider 
the  present  period  as  an  eminently  revolutionary  period. 
". . .  Qn  the  world  scale,  the  relation  of  forces  is  evolving  in  a 
manner  increasingly  unfavorable  to  capitalism." 
— La  longue  marche  de  la  revolution 

We  have  pointed  out  elsewhere  the  similarities  between  the 
economist  objectivism  of  Mandel  and  Bukhafin,  with  the 
former's  "long  waves"  a  more  generalized  version  of  the 
latter's  "periods"  of  imperialism.  Trotsky  wrote  in  1928  in 
response  to  Bukharin's  draft  program  for  the  Stalinized 
Comintern — based  on  the  assertion  of  a  "Third  Period"  of 
terminal  capitalist  crisis — a  polemic  which  utterly  demol- 
ishes the  objectivist  tailism  of  Ernest  Mandel: 

"But  as  soon  as  the  objective  prerequisites  have  matured,  the 
key  to  the  whole  historical  process  passes  into  the  hands  of 
the  subjective  factor,  that  is,  the  party.  Opportunism  which 
consciously  or  unconsciously  thrives  upon  the  inspiration  of 
the  past  epoch,  always  tends  to  underestimate  the  role  of  the 
subjective  factor,  that  is,  the  importance  of  the  party  and  of 
revolutionary  leadership.  All  this  was  fully  disclosed  during 
the  discussions  on  the  lessons  of  the  German  October,  on  the 
Anglo-Russian  Committee,  and  on  the  Chinese  revolution. 
In  all  these  cases,  as  well  as  in  others  of  lesser  importance,  the 
opportunistic  tendency  evinced  itself  in  the  adoption  of  a 
course  that  relied  solely  upon  the  'masses'  and  therefore 
completely  scorned  the  question  of  the  'tops'  of  the 
revolutionary  leadership.  Such  an  attitude,  which  is  false  in 
general,  operates  with  positively  fatal  effect  in  the  imperialist 
epoch." 

—  Third  International  After  Lenin 


Just  Out! 

Here  is  the  true  story  of 
the  Great  Coal  Strike  of 
1978— from  the  miners' 
side  of  the  barricades. 
And  much  more  besides: 
the  banlcruptcy  of  Arnold 
Miller  and  l\/liners  for 
Democracy;  class  war  in 
Harlan  and  Stearns; 
wildcats  in  the  coalfields; 
crisis  in  the  UMWA.  Not 
just  reporting  but  hard 
analysis... and  a  program 
for  victory! 


Workers  Vanguard  pamphlet  SI. 50 


^^ingle  copy,  $1.50; 


ngle  copy,  $1. 
20  copies  or  more,  $1.00  each. 
Enclosed  find  tor  


Make  checks  payable/mail  to: 
Spartacist  Publishing  Co. 
P.O.  Box  1377  G.P.O.  New  York,  N.  Y. 


THE  GREAT 
COAL  STRIKE 
OF  1978 


Name. 


.Phone. 


I 


Address. 
City  


State . 


Zip. 


SUMMER  1978 


25 


Swedish  USec... 

(continued  from  page  32) 

the  party,"  put  forward  a  strategy  counterposed  to  that  of 
the  KAF:  the  need  to  construct  an  alternative  leadership, 
based  on  a  revolutionary  transitional  program,  to  oust  the 
pro-capitalist  labor  "leaders." 

The  reaction  of  the  KAF  leadership  to  "For  a  Trotskyist 
Program"  was  not  a  political  reply  but  an  attempt  to 
instigate  organizational  measures  against  the  dissidents  on 
the  grounds  that  their  views  overlapped  those  of  the 
Spartacist  tendency.  At  the  instigation  of  one  Jakob 
Lundmark,  head  of  the  former  pro-SWP  faction,  the  KAF 
Political  Bureau  (PB)  addressed  a  letter  to  Christer  and 
Gunilla  demanding  they  affirm  that  the  KAF  and  the  USec 
were  "revolutionary  Trotskyist  organizations  which  stand 
for  revolutionary  politics  and  represent  a  continuity  back 
to  the  Fourth  International's  founding  Congress  in  1938 
and  the  early  Comintern"  (letter  of  26  November  1977).  In 
a  document  we  reprint  below,  the  two  comrades  replied 
that  the  PB's  demand  for  a  loyalty  oath  was  simply  an 
attempt  to  expel  them  "solely  on  the  basis  of  our  political 
views  and  our  political  struggle."  They  noted  they  were 
being  victimized  for  political  "characterizations  that  were 
acceptable  before  this"  that  is,  before  the  bitter  faction 
fight  in  the  USec  was  shoved  under  the  diplomatic  rug. 

In  their  courageous  reply,  the  comrades  exposed  the 
USec  rotten  bloc,  noting  the  former  factions'  public 
criticisms  of  each  other  and  contrasting  the  PB's  concern 
that  they  affirm  the  USec's  "continuity"  to  the  Fourth 
International  with  Ernest  Mandel's  infamous  1976  state- 
ment, "What  do  labels  matter?"  While  noting  the  difficulty 
of  judging  any  political  current  from  a  distance,  Christer 
and  Gunilla  forthrightly  refused  to  deny  the  "commonali- 
ty" of  their  views  with  the  iSt  "on  some  questions." 

The  PB  responded  with  a  draconian  recommendation 
that  the  two  be  expelled  at  the  upcoming  KAF  congress.  A 
special  Commission  of  Inquiry  was  constituted  and 
enjoined  to  discover  some  basis  for  this  purge.  The 
Commission  began  to  take  testimony  from  members  of  the 
several  locals  of  which  the  dissidents  had  been  members 
during  their  years  in  the  KAF.  Simultaneously,  to  provide 
a  political  cover,  Lundmark  distributed  a  turgid  ten-page 
attack  on  Christer  and  Gunilla  and  the  iSt,  drawing  heavily 
on  the  political  distortions  of  ex-Spartacist  Bob  Pearlman, 
now  in  the  American  SWP. 

But  the  scheme  backfired.  The  witchhunting  "inquiry" 
could  produce  not  a  shred  of  evidence  of  indiscipline  by 
Christer  and  Gunilla,  but  only  testimonials  to  their 
seriousness  and  disciplined  functioning,  as  comrades  who 
had  worked  with  them  in  branches  over  the  years  testified 
to  their  dedication  and  active  work  as  KAF  members. 
Faced  with  the  Commission's  refusal  to  recommend  that 
the  comrades  be  expelled,  the  embarrassed  leadership  was 
abruptly  forced  to  change  its  mind:  about  taking  up  the 
question  of  disciplinary  action  at  the  congress.  Despite  a 
statement  protesting  the  leadership's  bureaucratic  maneu- 
ver signed  by  1 8  delegates,  the  matter  was  tabled  to  the  next 
j  meeting  of  the  KAF  Central  Committee.  The  CC  set  up  yet 
another  ^'investigative"  body  which  was  instructed  to  look 
into  such  matters  as  the  oppositionists'  "uncomradely 
tone."  But  even  this  second,  presumably  more  carefully 


picked,  commission  refused  to  cover  for  a  purely  political 
expulsion  and  again  exonerated  the  two  comrades. 

The  ferocious  purge  assault  directed  at  Comrades 
Christer  and  Gunilla  was  a  test  of  the  KAF  leadership's 
willingness  to  abandon  the  remnants  of  its  left  past  to  act  as 
loyal  flunkies  for  Mandel— a  test  which  the  KAF  PB 
"passed"  with  flying  colors.  The  leadership  is  moving  to 
expunge  from  the  cadres  any  left  impulses  remaining  from 
the  KAF  in  its  earlier  period.  To  their  credit,  some  of  the 
KAF  cadres  refused  to  be  sucked  into  complicity  with  the 
leadership's  cynical  attempts  to  carry  out  the  first  political 
expulsion  in  the  history  of  the  organization.  But  the  KAF 
has  moved  very  far  from  the  leftist  impressionism  of  its 
younger  days,  and  with  the  "help"  of  its  international 
mentors  of  the  USec  it  will  rapidly  complete  its  rightist 
consolidation. 

In  the  months  following  the  congress,  the  KAF  has 
undergone  massive  disintegration.  An  internal  bulletin 
noted: 

"Education  did  not  function.  On  the  whole,  members  and 
candidates  complain  of  lack  of  education.  However, 
emphasis  on  pre-conference  discussion  went  by  the  boards. 
The  expectations  of  many  people  were  transformed  into 
disappointment....  Propaganda  does  not  function  in  any 
meaningful  way....  Recruitment  is  uneven, ..we  have  a 
minimum  of  local  intervention... we  are  losing  people  in  the 
trade  unions." 

Stockholm  local  bulletin  No.  61 

Members  have  been  leaving  the  KAF  in  significant 
numbers.  In  fact,  according  to  a  leadership  report  to  the 
Stockholm  local,  only  one  functional  trade-union  fraction 
remained  in  the  city:  day-care  center  employees.  The  state- 
capitalist  Tendency  D  quit  and  the  workerist  Tendency  C 
retreated  into  passivity,  apparently  content  to  allow  the 
leadership  to  do  as  it  pleased  in  exchange  for  being  left  in 
peace  to  do  "its"  trade-union  work.  Thus  the  main  winner 
at  the  congress  was  the  pro-SWP  wing;  with  the  KAF 
moving  ever  more  to  the  right  in  its  capitulation  to  the 
petty-bourgeois  "movements"  like  anti-nuclear  power  and 
its  rotten  blocs  with  social  democrats  and  Stalinists,  the 
reformist  political  logic  of  the  SWP  is  gaining  strength  in 
the  organization. 

Explosive  factional  potential  still  lurks  beneath  the 
diplomatic  ceasefire  in  the  USec.  But  the  SWP's  social- 
democratic  reformism  cannot  be  effectively  combated  by 
the  impressionistic  centrism  of  the  IMT.  To  the  SWP's 
"strategy"  of  becoming  the  "best  builders"  of  petty- 
bourgeois  and  reformist  organizations  under  the  "theory" 
that  "consistent"  democracy  equals  socialism,  the  IMT  can 
counterpose  only  a  verbal  sleight-of-hand  which  terms  the 
disgruntlements  of  disparate  strata  a  "new  radicalization" 
of  a  new  "vanguard." 

Refusing  to  capitulate  to  joint  majority/minority 
attempts  to  stifle  all  internal  discussion  in  the  KAF, 
Christer  and  Gunilla  wrote  a  major  political  reply  to  the 
maneuvers  of  the  KAF  leadership  and  to  Lundmark's 
slanderous  attack  on  them  and  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency.  Their  document,  which  is  also  reprinted  below, 
focuses  on  the  political  issues:  Lundmark's  falsification  of 
the  USec's  own  past;  the  leadership's  capitulation  to 
popular  frontism  in  France  and  Chile,  to  Castroism  in 
Cuba  and  more  generally  to  Stalinism;  Lundmark's 
pathetic  attempts  to  distort  the  SWP's  position  on  sending 
federal  troops  to  Boston  in  order  to  justify  it;  and  why  the 
continued  on  next  page 


26 


SPARTACIST 


Swedish  USec... 

USec  leadership  is  obliged  to  blatantly  distort  positions  of 
the  international  Spartacist  tendency  in  ways  obvious  to 
anyone  reasonably  familiar  with  its  published  material. 

However,  even  with  all  political  discussion  effectively 
blocked,  with  the  organization  in  a  shambles,  with  the  1 MT 
and  SWP  loyalists  more  than  willing  to  join  hands  against 
any  serious  left  opposition,  Christer  and  Gunilla  refused  to 
abandon  the  struggle  for  the  internationalist  program  of 
authentic  Trotskyism,  and  resigned  from  the  KAF  in 


February  to  pursue  political  discussion  with  the  internation- 
al Spartacist  tendency.  Through  their  work  with  the 
Stockholm  Spartacist  comrades  and  through  such  activities 
as  the  Stockholm  public  meeting  on  the  KAF  and  the  recent 
publication  of  the  documentation  of  their  oppositional 
struggle,  the  comrades  demonstrate  their  commitment  to 
assisting  their  former  comrades  of  the  KAF  to  find  the  road 
forward  to  the  authentic  Trotskyism  of  the  iSt.  ■ 


—adapted  from  "Swedish  USec  Face  to  Face 
with  Trotskyism. "  WV  No.  204,  5  May  1978 


Statement  of  Resignation 
from  the  KAF 


To  t^ie  Political  Bureau/ Executive  Committee: 

"The  crisis  of  the  proletarian  leadership  cannot,  of  course,  be 
overcome  by  means  of  an  abstract  formula.  It  isaquestion  of 
an  extremely  humdrum  process.  But  not  of  a  purely 'historical' 
process,  that  is,  oftheobjectivepremisesofconsciousactivity, 
but  of  an  uninterrupted  chain  of  ideological,  political  and 
organizational  measures  for  the  purpose  of  fusing  together  the 
best,  most  conscious  elements  of  the  world  proletariat  beneath 
a  spotless  banner,  elements  whose  number  and  self- 
confidence  must  be  constantly  strengthened,  whose  connec- 
tions with  wider  sections  of  the  proletariat  must  be  developed 
and  deepened— in  a  word:  to  restore  to  the  proletariat,  under 
new  ajid  highly  difficult  and  onerous  conditions,  its  historical 
leadership." 

—  LeonTrotsky,  IVritings,  /9i5-i6(first  edition),p.  112 

After  reading  that  tangle  of  distortions,  slanders  and 
outright  falsehoods  presented  as  a  political  document  under 
the  name  of  Jakob  Lundmark  (see  "Comments  on  a 
Farewell  to  the  Class  Struggle  and  Politics"),  we  feel 
compelled  to  reply,  even  if  only  briefly. 

1  f  Lundmark'sdocument  is  the  best  that  the  SWP  forces  in 
Sweden  (aided  and  abetted  by  the  majorityites)can  produce, 
then  the  KAFisinworseshapethan  we  thought.  Distortions 
and  falsehoods  aside,  the  tendency  throughout  the  docu- 
ment is  the  utter  disdain  of  the  KAF  leadership  for  the 
history  and  politics  of  Trotskyism. 

The  KAF  PB  claims  that  a  respect  for  the  history  and 
continuity  of  Trotskyism  is  a  condition  for  membership  in 
the  KAF  and  the  United  Secretariat  (USec). 

Unfortunately,  the  Lundmark  document  clearly  asserts 
that  an  evaluation  of  that  history  is  a  secondary  question, 
subordinate  to  organizational  maneuvers: 

"The  reunification  did  not  solve  the  problems  which  led  to  the 
52-54  split.  This  means  that  the  International  did  not  reach  a 
common  understanding  of  the  deviation  from  the  immediate 
perspective  of  the  Transitional  Program  which  characterized 
the  development  of  world  revolution  after  the  Second  World 
War.lt  was  correct  not  to  make  discussion  of  the  history  of  the 
International  a  roadblock  to  common  work  in  an  organiza- 
tion..." (Lundmark,  p.  2)  ^ 

In  spite  of  assurances  to  the  contrary,  the  KAF  leadership 
proclaims  here  that  it  considers  it  correct  not  only  to  have  no 
position  on  the  last  forty  years  of  the  history  of  the 
Trotskyist  movement,  but  also  to  refuse  to  discuss  this 
question.  One  cannot  conceive  of  Lenin  fusing  with 


Trotsky's  group  in  1917  while  "agreeing  to  disagree"  about 
the  disputes  which  earlier  had  separated  the  Bolsheviks 
from  the  Mensheviks  and  Conciliators  (i.e..  all  the  groups 
that  wanted  to  reconcile  the  Bolsheviks  and  Mensheviks), 
or  of  Trotsky  accepting  a  group  into  the  Left  Opposition  or 
the  Fourth  International  while  passing  over  its  history  in 
silence! 

The  reason  why  these  questions  could  not  be  discussed  in 
1963  is  clear:  while  the  SWP's  capitulation  to  the  Pabloites 
was  decisive,  it  was  not  yet  complete,  since  differences  still 
existed  over  the  1953  split,  China  and  other  crucial 
questions.  Reunification  was  based  on  refusing  to  discuss 
these  political  differences.  Yet  the  USec  leadership  today  is 
sufficiently  shatrieless  to  accuse  those  groupings  in  the 
International  Committee  which  demanded  a  clarifying 
political  discussion  of  "fleeing  from  political  discussion," 
supposedly  "under  the  pretext  of  rejecting  a  capitulation  to 
'Pabloism'"  (Lundmark,  p.  4).  The  hypocrisy  of  the  KAF 
leadership  knows  no  bounds. 

The  political  rationale  for  this  refusal  todiscussquestions 
of  crucial  importance  to  any  serious  Trotskyist  is  encapsu- 
lated in  the  statement,  so  characteristic  of  the  KAF 
leadership:  "While  Marxist  criticism  takes  as  its  starting 
point  the  actual  movement  of  the  masses  in  order  to  give 
them  a  scientific  understanding  of  their  experience..." 
(Lundmark,  p.  5).  This  type  of  statement  serves  the  USec  as 
an  excuse  not  to  raise  the  Trotskyist  program,  but  to 
capitulate  instead  to  the  "new  mass  vanguard."  This 
typically  revisionist  line  was  answered  long  ago  by  Trotsky: 
"Our  tasks  don't  depend  on  the  mentality  of  the  workers.  The 
task  is  to  develop  the  mentality  of  the  workers.  That  is  what 
the  program  should  formulate  and  present  before  the 
advanced  workers.  Some  will  say:  good,  the  program  is  a 
scientific  program;  it  corresponds  to  the  objective  situation 
but  if  the  workers  won't  accept  this  program,  it  will  be  sterile. 
Possibly.  But  this  signifies  only  that  the  workers  will  be 
crushed  since  the  crisis  can't  be  solved  any  other  way  but  by 
the  socialist  revolution."  / 

—Leon  Trotsky,  Writings,  /9J«-i9  (first  edition), 
pp.  43-44 

The  USec  and  KAF's  rejection  of  political  program  goes 
hand  in  hand  with  their  mindless  glorification  of  anything 
that  "lives  and  struggles."  By  giving  "concrete  struggles'^"' 
priority  over  political  clarification,  the  KAF  leadership 


SUMMER  1978 


27 


simply  echoes  banally  Bernstein's  classic  statement  of 
revisionism:  "The  movement  is  everything,  the  final  goal 
nothing."  Lundmark  and  the  KAF  leadership  are  quite 
shameless  about  this:  "...we  support  every  struggle  [sic!] 
against  imperialist  or  bureaucratic  oppression  regardless  of 
or  despite  the  illusions  which  the  masses  have  concerning 
petty-bourgeois  leaderships  or  reformist  solutions"  (Lund- 
mark, p.  6).  That  is  true.  Our  leading  Pabloists  have  tailed 
after  petty-bourgeois  nationalist  leaderships  for  years.  The 
KAF  leadership  accuses  us  and  the  iSt  of  "parasitic 
sectarianism"  (Lundmark,  p.  6)  for  daring  to  criticize  such 
petty-bourgeois  leaderships.  Again,  we  can  do  no  better 
than  to  let  Trotsky  reply  to  such  charges.  In  1935  Pierre 
Frank  and  Molinier  accused  Trotsky's  supporters  of 
"organizational  ultimatism"  for  refusing  to  capitulate  to 
Marceau  Pivert  (old  dogs  never  learn  new  tricks,  it  seems). 
Trotsky  replied: 

"'No  organizational  ultimatism.'  What  a  revolting  distortion 
of  the  Leninist  formulation!  No  ultimatism  whatsoever  in 
relation  to  the  masses,  the  trade  unions,  the  workers' 
movement;  but  the  most  intransigent  ultimatism  in  relation 
to  any  group  that  claim^ to  lead  the  masses.  The  ultimatism 
we  are  talking  about  is  called  the  Marxist  program." 

—  Leon  Trotsky,  The  Crisis  of  the  French  Section 
(1935-36),  p.  106 
Trotsky's  polemics  against  the  Frank-lViolinier  clique, 
recently  published  in  The  Crisis  of  the  French  Section 
(1935-36),  deserve  wide  circulation  in  the  KAF. 

It  is  because  for  the  KAF  and  USec  leadership  "the 
struggle  is  everything,  the  program  nothing"  that  they 
resort  to  unbridled  demagogy  and  feel  free  to  falsify  their 
own  history  as  well  as  others'.  We  will  take  up  a  few 
examples  of  this  below. 

Lundmark  gives  a  series  of  revealing  examples  of  the  way 
in  which  the  Pabloites  have  "supported"  various  move- 
ments. Thus  he  says,  "We  could 'support' a  Union  of  the  Left 
government  against  a  reactionary  coup  in  the  same  way  as 
the  Bolsheviks  supported  Kerensky  against  Kornilov" 
(Lundmark,  pp.  5-6).  Quite  true. 

But  that  is  not  the  question,  comrades. 
The  question  is,  do  you  vote  in  elections  to  bring  such  a 
government  to  power?  Do  you  vote  for  the  popular-front 
U  nion  of  the  Left  (as  the  French  LCR  has  consistently  done) 
via  one  or  several  of  its  representative  parties?  Did  you  vote 
to  bring  AUende  to  power  in  Chile?  Is  Lundmark  suggesting 
that  the  Bolsheviks  should  have  "supported"  the  Kerensky 
government  by  voting  for  it  if  the  opportunity  had  existed? 
Or  should  the  Bolsheviks  perhaps  have  supported  Keren- 
sky's  government  to  the  extent  that  it  carried  out  progressive 
measures— a  position  resolutely  opposed  by  Lenin.  Appar- 
ently Lundmark  does,  since  his  document  even  declares 
support,  in  a  different  context,  for  the  "Ben  Bella 
government's  anti-capitalist  measures"  (Lundmark,  p.  6). 

Comrades,  it  is  blatantly  dishonest  and  demagogic  to 
compare  voting  to  put  a  bourgeois  government  headed  by  a 
Kerensky  (or  an  Allende,  Mitterrand  or  Soares)  into  power 
with  militarily  defending  their  government  against  a  rightist 
coup. 

Furthermore,  Lundmark  declares  his  support  for  "the 
right  of  the  Yugoslav  workers  state  under  Tito  to  act 
independently  of  the  Stalin  regime"  (Lundmark,  p.  6). 
llnfortunalely,  facts  are  tenacious.  The  Fourth  Interna- 
tional did  more  than  just  choose  sides  in  a  squabble 
between  Stalinists.  One  of  the  very  serious  errors  of  the 


Fourth  International  in  the  postwar  period  was  to  claim 
that  Tito  and  the  Yugoslav  bureaucracy  were  "genuine 
communists"  who  had  decisively  broken  from  Stalinism. 
The  International  Secretariat  repeatedly  sought  a  political 
bloc  with  the  Yugoslav  Stalinists,  even  raising  the 
possibility  that  they  might  join  the  Fourth  International. 
"Work  brigades"  were  also  recruited  to  go  to  Yugoslavia  to 
help  "build  socialism."  This  is  a  much  different  question 
than  resolute  opposition  to  the  possibility  of  Soviet 
military  intervention  into  Yugoslavia. 

Concerning  the  question  of  Boston,  Lundmark  is  forced 
to  take  refuge  in  omitting  certain  facts  in  order  to  hide  the 
SWP's  true  position.  Lundmark  (p.  7)  quotes  the  statement 
by  Pearlman:  "In  practice ...  the  call  for  federal  troops  was 
never  counterposed  to  self-defense  efforts."  But  in  the  very 
passages  he  quotes  from  Pearlman,  he  conveniently  omits 
the  following  sentence:  "At  no  time  was  the  call  for  labor 
defense  squads  for  Black  students  anything  more  than 
empty  sloganeering"  (B.  Pearlman,  "Spartacist:  The 
Making  of  an  American  Sect,"  Intercontinental  Press  No. 
21,  [6  June]  1977,  p.  648). 

How  can  "empty  sloganeering"  be  "complementary"  to 
what  the  SWP  claims  was  the  "real"  issue,  namely  calling 
on  the  bourgeois  state  to  protect  the  rights  of  the 
oppressed? 

Does  the  KAF  reject,  like  Pearlman  and  the  SWP, 
Trotsky's  view  in  the  Transitional  Program? 

"In  connection  with  every  strike  and  street  demonstration,  it 
is  imperative  to  propagate  the  necessity  of  creating  workers 
groups  for  self-defense  

"It  is  necessary  to  advance  the  slogan  of  a  workers'  militia  as 
the  one  serious  guarantee  for  the  inviolability  of  workers' 
organizations,  meetings  and  press." 

—  Transitional  Program,  1977  Swedish  edition,  p.  38 

Lundmark,  together  with  Pearlman  and  the  KAF  and 
USec  leaderships,  is  careful  to  avoid  answering  the 
question  "Is  it  not,  as  the  Spartacists  assert,  'unprincipled' 
to  demand  that  the  armed  forces  of  the  bourgeois  state 
defend  the  oppressed?"  (Lundmark,  p.  7).  Instead, 
Pearlman  scornfully  dismisses  as  "Super-Marxists"  those 
who,  like  Lenin  and  Engels,  consider,  to  quote  Pearlman, 
"that  the  state,  in  the  last  resort,  is  'special  bodies  of  armed 
men'  and  that  therefore  the  police  and  the  army  are  the 
'arms  of  the  ruling  class'"  (quoted  by  Pearlman,  p.  649). 
What  is  the  position  of  the  KAF  leadership  on  the  SWP's 
fundamental  revision  of  the  Marxist  concept  of  the  state? 

Finally,  the  KAF  leadership  attacks  the  Spartacists  for 
putting  forward  the  slogan  "Military  Victory  to  the  NLF' 
during  the  antiwar  movement  in  the  U.S.  and  accuses 
them  of  "unmasking  the  NLF  to  the  American  masses" 
(Lundmark,  p.  8).  Just  what  is  wrong  with  that?  Before  the 
Tenth  World  Congress  even  Ernest  Mandel  felt  called  upon 
to  mildly  chide  the  SWP  for  its  slogan,  "Out  Now,"  and  his 
criticism  was  repeated  more  forcefully  by  other  USec 
leaders.  Even  within  the  KAF  this  criticism  against  the 
SWP  was  presented,  wasn't  it,  comrades? 

In  order  to  attack  our  positions  the  KAF  leadership  is 
obliged  to  assume  that  its  membership  is  ignorant  and  that 
even  when  comrades  may  recognize  distortions  and 
demagogy  they  don't  care  enough  about  political  program 
to  object. 

We  reject  these  insults  to  the  membership  of  the  KAF. 
Not  content  to  play  on  comrades'  ignorance,  Lundmark 

continued  on  next,  page 


28 


SPARTACIST 


KAF  Resignation... 

and  the  KAF  leadership  must  resort  to  outright 
falsification. 

Comrade  Lundmark  (and  behind  him  the  not  so  invisible 
hand  of  the  SWP)  accuses  the  International  Committee 
[I.e.]  of  refusing  to  defend  Cuba  against  imperialist  attack, 
in  particular  during  the  Cuban  missile  crisis  of  1962.  This  is 
a  serious  charge;  the  problem  is  that  it  is  false. 

The  statement  which  Lundmark  quotes  was  issued  by  the 
I.e.  on  28  October  1962  under  the  title  "Defend  the  Cuban 
Revolution." 

"The  working  class  of  the  world  must  act  to  prevent  the 
Cuban  Revolution  from  being  crushed.  Such  action  must  be 
independent  of  the  policies  of  Khrushchev  and  the  Soviet 
bureaucracy. 

". . .  The  International  Committee  of  the  Fourth  International 
calls  on  all  its  sections  to  take  their  place  in  all  actions  for  the 
defense  of  the  Cuban  Revolution  from  the  US  imperialists. 
"Cuba,  as  a  sovereign  state,  has  the  right  to  accept  whatever 
military  aid  it  decides.  But  the  setting  up  of  Soviet  missile  bases 
*  as  a  substitute  for  the  international  working-class  struggle 
cannot  defend  the  revolution — 

"In  the  advanced  countries,  especially  the  USA,  the  working 
class  must  organize  actions  in  full  support  of  the  workers  and 
peasants  of  Cuba.  End  the  blockade!  End  the  invasion 
preparations!" 

Not  content  merely  to  rip  a  phrase  out  of  context, 
Lundmark  in  the  true  spirit  of  the  SWP  falsifies  even  the 
portion  he  bothers  to  quote. 

Of  course,  it  is  easy  for  the  SWP  to  attack  the  obviously 
contradictory  position  of  the  Socialist  Labour  League 
(SLL:  Gerry  Healy's  organization,  now  the  Workers 
Revolutionary  Party)  that  Cuba  remained  capitalist  even 
after  the  massive  nationalizations  in  late  1960.  The  I.C. 
position  was  a  mechanical  attempt  to  resist  the  simple 
characterization  of  Cuba  as  a  workers'  state  made  by  the 
SWP  and  the  Pabloites.  But  the  KAF  leadership  feels  it  is 
irrelevant  and  unnecessary  to  proceed  to  a  thorough 
analysis  of  what  Lundmark  calls  the  "shortcomings"  of  the 
Cuban  leadership  and  [of  his  statement]  that  "The 
prospects  of  the  development  of  the  Cuban  leadership  were 
overestimated"  (Lundmark,  p.  2).  Whatever  one  can  say 
about  the  Spartacists,  it  cannot  be  denied  that  they  have 
attempted  to  analyze  this  in  a  way  which  merits  serious 
consideration.  The  correct  position  that  Cuba  was 
qualitatively  a  deformed  workers'  state  by  the  end  of  1960 
was  developed  and  adopted  only  by  the  Revolutionary 
Tendency  within  the  SWP  (which  was  to  become  the 
Spartacist  tendency). 

Rather  than  "fleeing  political  discussion"  they  have 
faced  the  issue  of  Cuba  squarely.  It  is  Lundmark's 
document  which  represents  a  determined  attempt  to  evade 
the  question. 

The  membership  of  the  KAF  has  a  right  to  answers  to  the 
following  questions: 

—if  you  now  characterize  Cuba  as  a  deformed  workers 
state,  when  did  it  become  so?  Why?  How? 

— if  the  Castro  leadership  is  still  characterized  as 
"revolutionary,"  does  this  mean  that  non-Trotskyist 
leaderships  can  establish  genuine  workers  states  (whatever 
shortcomings  they  may  have)? 

—can  there  be  a  non-Trotskyist  leadership  which  is 
"revolutionary"  in  the  sense  that  Trotsky's  Fourth 
International  would  have  used  the  term? 


We  certainly  do  not  claim  to  be  fully  familiar  with  all  the 
positions  of  the  international  Spartacist  tendency.  How- 
ever, even  a  quick  and  preliminary  examination  of  their 
positions  reveals  an  important  falsification  in  Lundmark's 
account  of  their  history. 

According  to  documents  published  by  the  Spartacists, 
they  were  willing  to  remaindisciplined  members  of  the  SWP 
and  USec  after  the  1963  reunification,  even  though  they 
were  opposed  to  reuniting  without  political  clarification  of 
the  central  issues  which  had  separated  the  Pabloite 
I  nternational  Secretariat  from  Trotskyism  for  over  1 0  years. 

However,  the  Spartacists  were  £A'/'£LZ.££)by  theSWP; 
they  did  not  "depart"  as  Lundmark  claims.  They  appealed 
their  expulsion  to  the  1965  World  Congress  but  were 
answered  by  Pierre  Frank: 

"We  call  your  attention  first  of  all  to  the  fact  that  the  Fourth 
International  has  no  organizational  connection  with  the 
Socialist  Workers  Party  and  consequently  has  nojurisdiction 
in  a  problem  such  as  you  raise,  namely  the  application  of 
democratic  centralism  as  it  affects  the  organization  either  as  a 
whole  or  in  individual  instances." 

Comrades,  is  this  a  statement  the  World  Party  of 
Socialist  Revolution  would  have  made? 

It  is  not  we,  but  the  leadership  of  the  KAF  and  the  USec 
which  are  opposed  to  a  political  discussion  of  their  past.  It 
is  the  KAF  leadership  which  "flees  from  political 
discussion"  by  refusing  to  even  attempt  to  remedy  what  is 
so  discreetly  called  a  "weakness"  which  "should  not  be 
looked  upon  as  a  correct  principle." 

We  believe  that  it  is  the  duty  of  those  who  claim  to  be 
Trotskyists  today  to  "reach  a  common  understanding"  and 
knowledge  of  the  development  of  the  world  revolution 
after  World  War  II.  A  "leadership"  which  refuses  to  discuss 
this  question,  while  admitting  having  no  position  on  it,  can 
hardly  claim  to  be  Trotskyist. 

*  *  «  *  * 
We  consider  it  a  question  of  principle  to  be  exonerated  of 
the  groundless  charges  about  breaking  discipline  brought 
against  us.  Therefore  we  have  appeared  before  the  Control 
Commission  [CC]  in  a  disciplined  fashion.  It  is  with 
satisfaction  that  we  see  that  the  KAF  leadership  has  been 


INTERNATIONAL  SPARTACIST 
TENDENCY  DIRECTORY 

LIGUE  TROTSKYSTE  DE  FRANCE 

Le  Bolchevik,  BP  42  109 

75424  Paris  Cedex  09,  France 
SPARTACIST  LEAGUE/BRITAIN 

PC  Box  185 

London,  WC1H  8JE,  England 
SPARTACIST  LEAGUE  OF 
AUSTRALIA/NEW  ZEALAND 

GPO  Box  3473 

Sydney,  NSW,  2001,  Australia 
SPARTACIST  LEAGUE/U.S. 

Box  1377,  GPO 

New  York,  NY  10001,  U.S. 
SPARTACIST  STOCKHOLM 

Spartacist  Publishing  Co. 

c/o  E.  Davidson 

Fack 

102  60  Stockholm,  Sweden 
TROTSKYIST  LEAGUE  OF  CANADA 

Box  7198,  Station  A 

Toronto,  Ontario,  Canada 
TROTZKISTISCHE  LIGA  DEUTSCHLANDS       '■  TJft 

Postfach  1  67  47  ;  i.;ja 

6000  Frankfurt/Maini,  West  Germany  ■ 


SUMMER  1978 


29 


forced  to  retreat.  The  CC  statement  totally  exonerates  us  of 
all  charges. 

Regarding  the  CC  statement  (which  we  demand  be 
printed  in  an  internal  bulletin)  that  it  is  "the  right  of  KAF 
members  to  sample  and  advocate  other  opinions  within  the 
organization,"  our  rights  were  not  at  all  that  clear  a  few 
months  ago. 

The  answer  from  the  CC  is  hypocritical;  from  the  very 
first  moment  it  was  clear  that  we  were  threatened  with 
expulsion  because  of  our  political  positions  and  not 
because  of  any  possible  breach  of  discipline. 

That  the  international  Spartacist  tendency  (iSt)  deserves 
the  attention  of  every  serious  militant  is  beyond  any  doubt. 
Even  comrades  from  the  United  Secretariat  have  been 
forced  to  admit  it,  as  the  following  quote  demonstrates: 
"...they  have  consistently  maintained  principled  positions 
on  such  issues  as  feminism  and  nationalism;  they  have 
established  a  generally  commendable  record  of  support  for 
other  left  tendencies  under  attack  from  the  bourgeois  state 
and  have  refrained  from  the  use  of  violence  against  other  left 
groupings  (itself  not  a  minor  achievement  in  the  light  of  the 
record  of  most  other  left  formations  in  the  U.S.).  In  a  period 
in  which  other  ostensibly  Trotskyist  tendencies  have  been 
characterized  by  bizarre  deviations  and  hysterical  excesses— 
from  the  Posadista  call  for  a  preemptive  nuclear  strike  by  the 
USSR  (with  socialism  rising  triumphant  from  the  ashes)  to 
the  shrill  'fascism  is  -around  the  corner'  clamor  of  the 
American  Wohlforthites  (coupled  with  the  Healy/ Wohlforth 


blatant  opportunism  and  authoritarian  party  regime)— the 
Spartacist  League  has  presented  a  sober,  solid,  down-to- 
earth  tone  that  is  refreshing." 

— Spartacist  League:  Anatomy  of  a  Sect. 

Contribution  to  an  Analysis  of  the  American  Left. 
Education  for  Socialists  by  the  RMG/Canada 

Due  to  the  bankruptcy  of  the  leadership's  politics,  it 
appears  impossible  to  carry  on  a  political  debate  within  the 
organization,  and  as  clearly  shown  by  the  report  on  the 
work  of  the  Stockholm  local  [local  bulletin  no.  61], 
demoralized  members  are  now  leaving  the  organization. 
And  "militants"  such  as  those  in  the  ex-Tendency  "C"  are 
content  to  maintain  an  uneasy  laissez-faire  attitude  vis-a 
vis  the  leadership.  Under  such  conditions  we  believe  that 
continuing  our  struggle  for  a  revolutionary  internationalist 
program  requires  that  we  take  up  discussions  with  the 
international  Spartacist  tendency. 

We  believe  that  all  serious  KAF  militants  will  face  this 
same  imperative  and  we  urge  them  to  join  in  such  political 
discussions    and    in    the    reforging    of  the  Fourth 
International. 
Nacka 

22  February  1978 

With  Trotskyist  Greetings 

C. 

G. 


Reply  to  the  KAF  Political  Bureau 


Comrades  of  the  Executive  Committee  of  the  PB: 

We  have  received  your  request  that  we  confirm  that  the 
United  Secretariat  is  Trotskyist,  that  the  USec  represents 
the  continuity  of  the  Fourth  International  and  that  we 
publicly  defend  that  the  USec  is  Trotskyist  against  all  its 
opponents,  especially  against  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency. 

We  are,  have  been  and  will  be  disciplined  members  of  the 
KAF.  We  recognize  unequivocally  that  the  KAF's  Central 
Committee  and  Political  Bureau  are  our  leading  bodies, 
likewise  that  the  United  Secretariat  is  the  leadingbody  of  the 
Fourth  International  and  that  we  submit  to  its  discipline. 

The  purpose  of  your  letter  and  your  questions  in  this 
matter  does  not  lie  in  seeking  our  assurance  that  weare  going 
to  be  loyal  members  of  the  organization.  What  you  are  really 
after  is  our  ideas,  our  attempt  to  evaluat-e  the  political 
motion,  possibilities  and  development  of  the  KAF:  the 
organization  to  which  we  have  belonged  for  several  years 
and  to  which  we  feel  a  responsibility  both  in  regard  to  the 
organization  as  such,  and  its  members. 

What  you  are  trying  to  do  is  really  dishonest.  First  by 
trying  to  prevent  our  positions  from  reaching  members  of 
the  KAF  ("For  a  Revolutionary  Trade  Union  Tactic," 
written  in  May,  has  not  yet  been  published,  nor  has  "For  a 
Trotskyist  Program,"  written  in  November,  been  published 
either  internally  or  in  Internationalen). 

After  that  you  threaten  expulsion  solely  on  the  basis  of 
our  political  views  and  our  political  struggle.  As  far  as  we 
'  know,  this  is  unique  in  KAF's  history. 


As  you  know  these  bureaucratic  maneuvers  are  not  new. 
Your  administrative  and  bureaucratic  measures  are  not  a 
new  invention.  The  technique  of  placing  us  on  the  bench  of 
the  accused,  not  for  any  break  of  discipline  but  because  of 
our  programmatic  ideas,  is  only  reminiscent  of  the 
Bolshevik  party's  destruction  by  the  Stalin  faction  and 
Pablo's  actions  in  destroying  the  FI  around  the  time  of  the 
Third  World  Congress.  It  ought  to  be  noted  that  things 
went  a  lot  further  than  most  of  the  well-meaning  comrades 
in  the  original  Stalinist  and  Pabloist  factions  undoubtedly 
intended. 

Although  our  case  is  actually  nothing  but  a  form  of 
witchhunt,  we  want  to  try  and  answer  your  questions. 

In  the  first  place,  the  Trotskyist  program  including  its 
organizational  norms  is  a  decisive  criterion  for  an 
organization  that  wants  to  call  itself  Trotskyist.  This 
concerns  the  program  as  well  as  the  actions. 

What,  then,  is  the  USec's  organizational  relationship  to 
Trotsky's  Fourth  International  and  the  Trotskyist  pro- 
gram? How  do  we  decide  this  question?  The  answer  to  this 
is  precisely  the  political  discussion  which  you  are  trying  to 
prevent. 

Since  1968  the  USec  has  been  deeply  split.  Insofar  as  the 
harsh  reality  of  the  class  struggle  has  brought  forward  clear 
political  positions,  unfortunately  different  parts  of  the 
USec  have  found  themselves  on  opposite  sides  of  the 
barricades  on  questions  such  as  Angola,  Portugal,  their 
attitude  toward.  Eurocommunism,  toward  the  SWP/ 
USA's  demand  that  the  army  of  the  bourgeois  state  protect 
democratic  rights,  etc. 

continued  on  next  page 


30 


SPARTACIST 


Reply  to  KAF  PB... 

It  is  impossible  to  deny  that  these  viewpoints  and 
positions  flow  from  a  political  program  (namely  centrist  and 
reformist)  and  these  can  hardly  be  called  Trotskyist. 
Consequently  the  least  one  can  do  is  to  put  a  question  mark 
after  the  USec's  "Trotskyism." 

The  leadership  of  the  ex-LTF,  the  SWP/USA,  has  a 
whole  range  of  reformist  viewpoints.  That  the  SWP  is 
reformist  is  a  view  which  is  shared  by  a  large  part  of  the  I MT 
leadership  including  leading  comrades  in  the  KAF. 
Furthermore,  the  majority  has  publicly  condemned  the 
Argentine  PST's  position  of  support  to  the  "process  of 
institutionalization"  in  Argentina.  During  1973-74  IMT 
supporters  in  North  America  openly  described  the  SWP  and 
the  Canadian  LS  A  as  reformist  and  non-Marxist.  When  the 
Internationalist  Tendency  was  expelled  from  the  SWP 
solely  because  of  this  opinion  the  majority  protested  this 
political  explusion. 

Have  the  leading  comrades  of  the  KAF  changed  their 
views  on  the  explusion  of  the  IT? 

The  USec  majority,  to  which  our  section  belongs,  has 
given  a  whole  range  of  contradictory  political  answers  under 
the  pressure  of  different  events  in  the  class  struggle.  There 
unquestionably  are  comrades  who  honestly  support  the 
Leninist  road,  but  we  also  have  a  political  leadership  which 
first  is  impressionist  and  secondly  is  swinging  to  the  right. 
The  KAF  is  soft  on  Eurocommunists,  it  seeks  rotten  blocs 
with  left  social  democrats  and  Stalinists  in  the  unions,  these 
days  the  KAF  even  has  difficulty  in  drawing  the  class  line 
against  the  repressive  apparatus  of  the  bourgeoisie(to  which 
the  "terrorist  affair  and  the  immigrant  incidents"  attest),  etc. 

One  of  the  central  criteria  for  the  Trotskyist  Fourth 
International  is  its  organizational  norms  regarding  demo- 
cratic centralism. 

Has  the  functioning  of  the  USec  ever  really  been 
democratic  centralist  during  the  last  years?  Obviously  not! 


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We  have  seen  two  factions,  the  IMT  and  the  LTF,  which 
have  constantly  publicly  criticized  each  other.  We  have 
^  seen  different  national  sections  refuse  to  abide  by  the 
decisions  of  the  World  Congress.  In  short,  the  USec  doesn't 
function  as  a  democratic  centralist  organization.  And  isn't 
this  precisely  one  of  the  criteria  by  which  we  can 
characterize  an  organization  as  Trotskyist  or  not? 

The  usee's  failure  to  function  according  to  democratic 
centralism  does  not  automatically  disqualify  it  as  Trotsky- 
ist. It  does  raise  a  question  as  to  whether  or  not  it  can  be 
called  the  Fourth  International. 

It  is  also  a  proof  of  the  absolute  necessity  of  the  struggle 
that  we  have  begun  to  wage  in  the  KAF. 

Your  letter  seems  to  put  forward  the  tautological 
assertion  that  the  FI  is  Trotskyist  and  that  for  an  individual 
to  say  that  the  U  Sec  or  some  section  of  it  is  not  Trotskyist  is 
sufficient  to  call  his  membership  status  into  question. 
Despite  this,  such  statements  were  made  rather  frequently 
before  the  Tenth  World  Congress.  A  whole  wing  of  the 
majority  wanted  to  break  with  the  SWP/USA.  Parts  of  the 
LTF  characterized  the  IMT  as  centrist. 

Why  do  you  single  us  out  for  our  political  descriptions 
and  characterizations  that  were  acceptable  before  this? 
Let  us  look  at  what  this  could  lead  to  in  an  extreme  case. 

In  hunting  after  a  fusion  with  parts  of  the  French  PSU 
under  the  then-leadership  of  Michel  Pablo,  Ernest  Mandel 
made  the  following  statement  in  the  French  paper 
Politique  Hebdo  (10  June  1976)  cited  in  Intercontinental 
Press  No.  37  (1976). 

"What  do  labels  matter?  If  in  the  political  arena  we  found 
forces  that  agreed  with  our  strategic  and  tactical  orientation 
and  which  were  put  off  only  by  our  name  [Fourth 
international]  and  historical  references  [Trotsky]  we  would 
drop  these  things  within  twenty-four  hours." 

Apparently  for  Mandel  the  question  of  Trotskyism  and 
the  Fourth  International  is  only  a  bagatelle.  If  your 
procedures  were  not  merely  "sanitary  measures,"  aimed  at 
getting  the  KAF  congress  to  expel  us,  you  would 


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31 


immediately  take  up  the  struggle  for  the  Eleventh  World 
Congress  to  remove  Mandel  as  the  USec's  leading 
spokesman.  Instead  of  doing  this  you  are  making  us 
scapegoats. 

Furthermore,  if  the  characterizations  we  made  of  the 
SWP  and  Moreno's  PST.  which  we  think  that  some  of  you 
share,  are  correct,  then  we  think  you  should  investigate 
whether  or  not  they  are  Trotskyist.  You  should  do  this  in 
order  to  either  adopt  their  line  or  denounce  it.  Instead  you 
choose  to  hunt  us  down. 

Finally,  you  raise  the  question  of  the  iSt.  It  is  naturally 
difficult  for  us  to  judge  an  organization's  practice  from 
afar,  but  as  far  as  we  can  tell,  the  positions  of  the  iSt  are 
those  of  Trotskyism,  and  therefore  we  feel  sympathy  and  a 
commonality  with  them  on  some  questions.  Naturally  the 
positions  of  the  iSt,  like  those  of  the  USec  or  any  other 
organization,  have  to  be  tested  in  practice. 

From  that  perspective,  it  seems  like  the  SWP  sees  the 
Spartacist  League  as  a  real  force  in  the  USA.  We  think 
that  the  discussion  between  comrade  Pearlman  (a  former 
SL  member)  and  the  Spartacist  League  should  be 
thoroughly  studied  by  all  comrades  in  the  KAF. 
Pearlman's  document  can  be  found  in  Intercontinental 
Press  Nos.  2 1 , 22  ( 1 977)  and  the  Spartacist  League's  answer 
in  Workers  Vanguard  Nos.  168  and  170. 

It  is  scandalous  of  you  to  ascribe  to  us  the  views  of  the  iSt, 
an  organization  whose  practice  we  know  little  about,  and  to 
counterpose  them  to  the  USec.  Not  even  the  Spartacists 
themselves  claim  that  they  are  any  "counter"-Fourth 
International.  They  do  not  claim  to  be  an  international  in 
competition  with  any  other.  On  theother  hand  theydoclaim 
to  uphold  the  political  program  of  Trotskyism. 

The  USec  has  recently  been  active  in  trying  to  regroup 
"the  left"  to  its  advantage.  In  the  USA  and  in  Sweden  [the 
USec]  has  even  admitted  organizations  and  individuals 
which  had  political positionssimilartothosewhoatthetime 
of  the  Second  World  War  and  Korean  War  quit  the  Fourth 
International  and  betrayed  its  program.  We  are  talking 
about  so-called  state  capitalists  like  the  RMC  in  the  SWP 


racist  attacks-^ 


Workers  Vanguard 

Once  critical  of  the  American  SWP's  reformist  policy 
of  preaching  reliance  on  capitalist  state,  the  KAF  now 
chastises  the  Swedish  state  for  failing  to  intervene  on 
behalf  of  harassed  immigrants  and  political  refugees 
W|io  are  denied  asylum. 


and  the  so-called  study  group  or  "Tendency  D"  in  KAF. 

You  seek  to  counterpose  yourselves  to  an  organization 
which  sees  itself  as  orthodox  Trotskyist  and  which  shares 
many  fundamental  progrgmmatic  positions  with  critical 
left  comrades  in  the  USec.  An  organization  which  shares 
our  position  against  the  opportunist  leadership  of  the 
USec— a  leadership  which  accepts  into  membership  those 
who  call  the  defense  of  the  Soviet  Union  into  question  and 
who  in  fact  oppose  defending  the  deformed  and  degenerat- 
ed workers  states  against  imperialist  attack.  You  dissociate 
yourselves  from  an  organization  which  wages  a  principled 
fight  for  a  proletarian  and  not  petty-bourgeois  line  in  the 
class  struggle. 

If  the  KAF  was  the  genuine  and  Trotskyist  organization 
that  it  claims  to  be,  then  it  should  take  up  discussions  with 
the  iSt,  if  for  no  other  reason  than  to  politically  unmask 
them.  But  why  not  investigate  the  possibilities  for 
principled  fusion?  And  not,  as  is  now  the  case,  put  a 
Spartacist  crown  of  thorns  on  our  heads. 

One  of  the  things  that  we  found  positive  about  the  iSt  is 
that  at  the  time  of  the  1963  reunification  congress  (when  a 
lot  of  work  was  done  to  bring  the  so-called  Healyites  and 
Lambertistes  into  the  USec)  they  were  prepared  to 
participate  in  this  reunification.  This  can  be  seen  clearly 
from  their  various  publications.  Instead  they  were  met  by 
bureaucratic  maneuvers  and  expulsion,  no  doubt  an 
attempt  to  destroy  them.  This  did  not  succeed  and 
furthermore  the  iSt  now  is  a  small  but  nevertheless 
international  current,  while  not  claiming  to  be  in 
organizational  competition  with  the  USec. 

It  seems  to  us  that  the  leadership  of  the  KAF  is  now 
reproducing  a  similar  process  in  trying  to  expel  us  before 
the  congress.  Comrades,  why  do  you  want  your  bureau- 
cratic maneuvers  to  prove  (by  expelling  us)  what  we  are 
trying  to  prove,  namely,  that  the  KAF  and  the  USec  are 
neither  Trotskyist  nor  the  Fourth  International.  These  are 
political  questions  which  have  to  be  solved  by  an  open 
political  debate  and  not  by  bureaucratic  expulsions.  A 
debate  which  you  are  using  administrative  measures  to 
prevent. 

You  can  be  sure  that  as  long  as  we  are  members  of  KAF 
and  the  USec,  we  will  unequivocally  defend  their  positions 
in  public  (including  against  the  representatives  of  the 
international  Spartacist  tendency).  At  the  same  time  we 
assure  you  that  we  are  going  to  continue  to  struggle  for 
Trotskyist  unity  in  a  genuine  democratic,  as  well  as 
centralist,  international  organization. 

With  comradely  greetings, 
Christer  F. 
Gunilla  S. 


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32 


SPARTACIST 


SUMMER  1978 


Swedish  USec  Face  to  Face 
with  Trotskyism 


"Like  alchemists  of  the  old  days,  they  are  looking  for  the 
saving  formula,"  Christer  F.  told  a  recent  Spartacist  public 
meeting  in  Stockholm,  Sweden.  Comrade  Christer  was 
talking  about  the  centrist  Kommunistiska  Arbetarforbun- 
det  (KAF — Communist  Workers  League),  Swedish  section 
of  the  United  Secretariat  (USec),  of  which  he  had  been  a 
long-time  member  before  finally  rejecting  the  USec's  brand 
of  get-rich-quick  opportunism  and  solidarizing  with  the 
principled  Trotskyist  politics  of  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency  (iSt).  Comrade  Christer  recounted  the  story  of  his 
oppositional  struggle  in  the  rightward-moving  KAF,  which 
culminated  at  the  KAF  national  congress  last  December 
with  the  KAF  leadership's  hilariously  ineffectual  efforts  to 
railroad  him  and  a  cothinker,  Comrade  Gunilla,  out  of  the 
organization. 

It  all  began  when  the  two  left  oppositionists  submitted  a 
document,  "For  a  Trotskyist  Program,"  in  November 
during  the  pre-conference  discussion  period.  Though 
centrists  must  be  professional  confusionists  and  abhor 
above  all  any  attempt  at  programmatic  clarity,  the  furor 
unleashed  by  the  document  is  explicable  only  in  terms  of  the 
precarious  internal  situation  of  the  KAF.  The  USec's  uneasy 
truce  between  the  former  International  Majority  Tendency 
(IMT)  of  Ernest  Mandel  and  the  faction  led  politically  by  the 
reformist  American  Socialist  Workers  Party  (SWP)  has 
been  dutifully  carried  out  in  Sweden  through  the  disman- 
tling of  Tendencies  A  and  B.  But  disgust  with  the  social- 
democratic  SWP  has  not  been  fully  expunged  from  the 
ranks  of  the  KAF,  which  has  historically  been  rather  leftist 
within  the  USec  spectrum.  Thus  the  two  oppositionists  were 
heaping  salt  on  still-open  wounds  when  they  wrote: 

"Today  the  KAF  assists  in  spreading  illusions  about  the 
bourgeois  state.  The  bourgeois  state  and  its  repressive  appa- 
ratus are  charged  with  failure  to  intervene  on  behalf  of 
immigrants  who  are  harassed,  political  refugees  who  are 

turned  away,  and  'terrorists'  who  are  sent  packing  The 

Malmo  local  called  for  better  behavior  on  the  part  of  cops  in 
connection  with  attacks  on  immigrants  (Internationalen,  12 
August  1977). 

"This  is  indeed  different  from  a  few  years  back  when  the  KAF 
protested  against  the  SWP  as  the  latter  put  forward  the 
demand  that  police/military  troops  should  be  sent  in  todefend 
(sic!)  blacks  in  Boston." 

— "For  a  Trotskyist  Program" 

The  document  also  castigated  the  USec  for  increasingly 
open  abandonment  of  the  Trotskyist  principle  of  uncondi- 
tional defense  of  the  Soviet  Union  against  imperialism: 
"Defense  of  the  Soviet  Union  is  abandoned — evidently  it  is 
acceptable  these  days  to  endorseappeals  with  Maoists  and  the 
bourgeoisie  aimed  directly  against  the  deformed  and 
degenerated  workers  states.  The  SWP  is  even  permitted  to 
fuse  with  a  state  capitalist  grouping  without  protest  from  any 
leading  organ." 

In  Sweden,  a  country  which  directly  faces  the  Soviet  Union 
across  the  Baltic  Sea  (the  nearest  major  city  to  Stockholm  is 
Leningrad),  this  is  certainly  no  abstract  question.  The 
oppositionists  nbted  that  the  cadres  who  founded  the  KAF 
in  1971  had  been  gained  largely  from  the  sizable  Swedish 


M  aoist  groups  through  the  posing  of  Trotskyist  positions  on 
such  questions  as  the  class  nature  of  the  Soviet  Union. 

The  left  critics'  insistence  on  discussing  the  differences 
between  the  pro-IMT  and  pro-SWP  wings  of  the  USec  was 
certainly  galling  to  the  KAF  leadership,  which  has  tried  to 
relegate  them  to  the  status  of  "merely  historical"  disputes 
(the  USec's  equation  of  "historical"  with  unimportant  itself 
speaks  volumes).  But  an  even  more  sensitive  subject  raised 
by  Christer  and  Gunilla  was  the  question  of  the  KAFs 
foundering  trade-union  work.  After  the  dissolution  of 
Tendencies  A  and  B,  a  workerist  current.  Tendency  C, 
remained  to  plague  the  KAF  leadership's  dreams  of  internal 
peace.  Though  this  current  was  far  from  possessing  a 
coherent  critical  analysis  of  KAF  trade-union  work,  its 
formation  reflected  uneasiness  within  the  organization  over 
the  K  AF's  turn  from  "putting  the  union  up  against  the  wall" 
to  attempts  to  become  a  pressure  group  on  the  union 
bureaucracy,  often  through  forming  propaganda  blocs  with 
left  social  democrats  or  Stalinists.  "For  a  Trotskyist 
Program,"  with  its  insistence  that  "KAF  should  have 
communists  in  the  trade  unions  and  not  trade  unionists  in 
continued  on  page  25 


For  panyttfodelsen  av 
Fjarde  Internationalenl 

Dokument  frin 

den  trotskistiska  oppositionens  kamp  i  KAF 

Spartacist  Publishing  Co. 
c/o  E.  Davidson 

Pack  SPARTACIST  STOCKHOLM 

102  60  Stockholm     Sympatisbrgrupp  till  internationella 

Sweden  Spartacist  tendensen 


SPARTAOST 


NUMBER  26 


WINTER  1979 


50  CENTS 


Where 
Pabloism 
Has  Led 
the  GIIVI....10 

Statement  of  the 

Internationalist 

Communists 

of  Buchenwald....12 

2  SPARTACIST 

EURO- 
REVISIONISIS 

TiUL 
STAUNIST 
BREAKJnMIKVS 


As  a  revolutionary  leader  he  is  worse  than  worthless.  But 
as  a  political  weathervane  he  is  almost  unerring.  Yes, 
Ernest  Mandel,  that  internationally  renowned  guru  of  the 
fake-Trotskyist  United  Secretariat  of  the  Fourth  interna- 
tional (USec),  certainly  is  a  master  at  bending  with  the 
shifting  political  winds  in  the  European  left. 

During  the  heyday  of  New  Left  adventurism  Mandel 
presented  the  USec  as  the  true  embodiment  of  the  heritage 
of  "Che."  Along  comes  the  pre-revolutionary  crisis  in 
Portugal  and  Mandel  was  to  be  found  providing  a  left 
cover  for  the  arch-Stalinist  Portuguese  Communist  Party 
(PCP)  of  Alvaro  Cunhal.  And  when  Eurocommunism 
replaced  Portugal  in  the  headlines  Mandel  became  the  self- 
appointed  lawyer  for  that  arch-enemy  of  the  Kremlin-loyal 
Cunhal:  premier  Eurocommunist  Santiago  Carrillo  of  the 
Spanish  Communist  Party  (PCE)! 

Such  posturing  might  be  regarded  as  a  farcical  burlesque 
if  it  weren't  so  positively  obscene.  Here  is  Mandel 
eulogizing  "Che"  on  the  tenth  anniversary  of  his  murder 
while  at  the  same  time  prettifying  the  Eurocommunists, 
who  truly  hate  the  memory  of  Guevara  because  the 
martyred  guerrilla  still  remains  an  inspiration  to  their  "far 
left"  opponents.  One  wonders  whether  the  consummately 


cynical  Mandel  even  felt  a  twinge  of  shame  when  Italian 
Communist  Party  (PCI)  leader  Paolo  Bufalini  told  the  PCI 
central  committee:  "I  would  have  given  Guevara  a  medal 
for  heroism  and  simultaneously  condemned  him  to  death 
for  indiscipline"  (quoted  in  Manchester  Guardian  Weekly, 
7  May  1978).  That's  how  the  Scheidemanns  and  Noskes  of 
Italy  today  pay  tribute  to  the  idealist  Stalinist  adventurer 
uncritically  lionized  by  the  Mandelites. 

But  Guevara  is  dead  now,  as  are  many  of  the  subjectively 
revolutionary  Latin  American  youth  who  tragically 
followed  the  line  of  the  professor  from  the  Louvain  and 
actually  "picked  up  the  gun."  There  is  a  cynical  adage  from 
American  courtroom  parlance  which  applies  to  Mandel: 
the  lawyer  always  goes  home. 

Mandelite  tailing  after  Eurocommunism  did  not  fall  out 
of  the  sky.  The  shift  from  enthusing  over  the  heroic 
adventurism  of  a  "Che"  to  apologizing  for  the  pro- 
imperialist  parliamentary  cretinism  of  the  Eurocommu- 
nists is  consistent  with  Mandel's  twenty-five  year  history  of 
Pabloist  impressionism  on  the  question  of  Stalinism.  This 
liquidationist  revisionism  which  organizationally  de- 
stroyed the  Fourth  International  in  1953  was  succinctly 
stated  (a  rare  virtue  for  the  Pabloists,  who  clothe  their 


WINTER  1979 


3 


abrogation  of  Marxism  in  bombast)  in  a  document  entitled 
"The  Rise  and  Decline  uf  Stalinism"  which  the  Pabloist 
"International  Secretariat"  adopted  at  its  rump  "Fourth 
World  Congress"  in  1954: 

"In  countries  where  the  CPs  are  a  majority  in  the  working 
class,  they  can,  in  certain  exceptional  conditions  (ad- 
vanced disintegration  of  the  possessing  classes)  and  under 
the  pressure  of  very  powerful  revolutionary  uprisings  of 
the  masses,  be  led  to  project  a  revolutionary  orientation 
counter  to  the  Kremlin's  directives,  without  abandoning 
the  political  and  theoretical  baggage  inherited  from 
Stahnism  This  perspective — namely  not  an  organiza- 
tional disintegration  of  the  mass  Communist  parties,  but 
rather  a  disintegration,  molecular  for  an  entire  period,  of 
the  bureaucratic  relations  which  extend  from  the  Kremlin 
down  to  the  ranks  of  these  parties — is  essential  for 
determining  the  forms  of  intervention  by  our  movement  in 
this  proces.s  in  order  to  make  it  evolve  in  a  direction 
favorable  to  revolutionary  Marxism." 

— reprinted  in  The  Development  and 

Disintegration  of  World  Stalinism.  Socialist 
Workers  Party  (SWP)  "Education  for  Socialists" 
Bulletin  (March  1970) 

The  "forms  of  intervention"  have  indeed  varied:  from 
deep  entrism  into  the  mass  reformist  parties  of  Western 
Europe  during  the  1950'sand  1960's,  to  the  futile  search  for 
the  elusive  "new  mass  vanguard"  outside  of  the  "bureau- 
cratic apparatuses"  of  the  workers  movement  following  the 
1968  May  events  in  France,  to  attempting  to  broker  a  lash- 
up  of  the  "far  left"  that  could  act  as  a  left  pressure  group  on 
the  popular  front.  But  the  thrust  continues  to  be 
liquidationism:  to  find  a  substitute  for  the  proletariat 
organized  by  its  conscious  vanguard  under  the  banner  of 
the  Fourth  International  in  resolving  the  crisis  of 
revolutionary  leadership. 

In  the  past  the  Pabloists  have  tailed  those  Stalinist 
bureaucrats,  whether  in  Havana,  Hanoi  or  Lisbon,  who 
could  be  portrayed  cynically  as  resolute  opponents  of  U.S. 
imperialism.  But  with  their  positive  orientation  to 
Eurocommunism  the  Mandelites  are  now  tailing  CP  tops 
who  desire  to  break  down  barriers  to  Washington. 
Mandel's  endless  maneuvers  aimed  at  conjuring  up  a  "new 
mass  vanguard"  lead  him  to  follow  the  shift  to  the  right  in 
radical  petty-bourgeois  opinion.  Thus  the  Mandelites  have 
crawled  back  to  the  "bureaucratic  apparatuses"  which  they 
spurned  only  yesterday;  and  from  there  to  tailing  popular 


frontism  and  becoming  apologists  for  the  pro-NATO 
Berlinguer,  the  pro-monarchist  Carrillo,  and  the  \)xo-fone 
de  frappe  Marchais. 

Arising  in  the  context  of  the  anti-Soviet  "human  rights" 
offensive  of  U.S.  imperialism,  Eurocommunism  represents 
the  attempts  of  the  CP  leaderships  to  prove  both  to  their 
"own"  bourgeoisies  and  to  Washington  that  they  can  be 
entrusted  with  ministerial  portfolios  and  seats  in  the 
councils  of  NATO.  These  parties'  much-touted  "independ- 
ence" from  Moscow  and  their  shedding  of  even  the 
pretenses  of  Marxist  and  Leninist  phraseology  (to  which 
they  decreasingly  paid  lip  service)  clearly  represent  shifts  to 
the  right  by  the  major  mass  Communist  parties  of  Western 
Europe.  The  European-based  USec  majority  must  there- 
fore discern  some  kind  of  "progressive  dynamic"  in  the 
thoroughly  reformist  parties  which  betrayed  the  French 
strikes  of  1968  and  the  Italian  strike  wave  of  the  following 
year. 

The  emergence  of  Eurocommunism  has  provided  a 
rallying  point  for  diverse  political  tendencies  with  appetites 
to  pressure  the  CPs  from  the  left  and  from  the  right. 
Mandel  has  obvious  opportunist  appetites  to  broker  a 
grand  regroupment  of  left  social  democrats  and  pro- 
Eurocommunists — all  along  appealing  to  the  "far  left"  to 
join  his  fake  "Fourth  International"  and  get  in  on  the 
action.  His  scheme  was  quite  clearly  revealed  last  May 
when  the  French  Ligue  Communiste  Revolutionnaire 
(LCR),  mainstay  of  the  Mandelite  USec  majority,  hosted  a 
big  fete  featuring  French  Communist  Party  (PCF) 
historian  Jean  Elleinstein,  French  Socialist  Party  leader 
Gilles  Martinet,  an  official  delegation  from  Carrillo's 
Spanish  Communist  Party,  Ukrainian  dissident  Leonid 
Plyushch  and  two  so-called  "progressive"  officers,  a  retired 
French  general  and  an  admiral.  Admiral  Sanguinetti,  who 
ran  in  the  March  elections  on  the  SP  ticket,  defended 
French  colonial  butchery  in  Indochina  and  Algeria  and 
praised  the  "democracy"  of  Hitler's  Wehrmacht!  Of  course, 
on  this  platform  the  LCR  kept  mum  about  such 
fundamental  Trotskyist  positions  as  class  opposition  to 
popular  fronts  and  unconditional  defense  of  the  Soviet 
Union.  Instead,  LCR  spokesman  Bensaid  concentrated  his 
remarks  on  echoing  the  attacks  of  the  Eurocommunists  on 
the  "model  of  the  Soviet  revolution"  and  posting  the 
continued  on  next  page 


A 


Mandel  (left) 
demagogically  claims  that 
Carrillo  (right)  "completely 
rehabilitates"  Andres  Nin, 
the  Spanish  POUM  leader 
murdered  by  the  Stalinists. 
In  fact,  Carrillo  condemns 
Nin's  role  in  the 
Barcelona  May  Days  as 
"an  act  of  treason." 


4 


SPARTACIST 


"cohabitation"  of  the  "democratic"  institutions  of  bour- 
geois dictatorship  with  "proletarian  democracy"  after  the 
revolution. 

Capitulation  to  the  popular  front  has  led  the  Mandelites 
to  orient  toward  the  rightist  currents  in  Western  European 
Stalinism  as  well  as  their  social-democratic  would-be  allies. 
"Euro-Trotskyism" — as  the  Mandelite  line  was  so  aptly 
dubbed  by  that  Spanish  prophet  of  Eurocommunism, 
Fernando  Claudin,  at  the  May  LCR  fete — represents  a 
significant  social-democratization  of  the  USec  majority.  Its 
adaptation  to  Eurocommunism  put  the  centrist  Mandelites 
on  a  rightist,  anti-Soviet  course  which  led  to  a  genuine 
though  limited  narrowing  of  differences  with  its  main 
factional  opponent  within  the  USec,  the  viscerally  social- 
democratic  American  Socialist  Workers  Party  (SWP). 

To  date  the  most  synthetic  presentation  of  the  USec 
majority's  line  on  Eurocommunism  is  the  recent  book  by 
Mandel  entitled  From  Stalinism  to  Eurocommunism 
(1978).  Its  key  chapter  is  "Three  Facets  of  Eurocommu- 
nism." which  first  appeared  as  an  article  in  the  Mandelite 
international  journal  Inprecor  (its  English-language 
edition  now  "incorporated"  into  the  Intercontinental  Press 
of  the  SWP). 

In  this  article  Mandel  musters  his  quite  considerable 
powers  of  obfuscation  to  portray  Eurocommunism  as  a 
phenomenon  whose  basic  political  character  remains  to  be 
determined  but  which  is  pregnant  with  revolutionary 
possibilities.  Eurocommunism  is  here  described  as  a 
"contradictory"  phenomenon.  But  Mandel  does  no/  mean 
contradictory  in  the  sense  used  by  Trotsky,  namely,  that 
with  their  decisive  passage  into  the  camp  of  reformism  in 
1933  the  CPs  became  bourgeois  workers  parties  not 
qualitatively  different  from  the  Social  Democracy. 

Rather,  Mandel  portrays  Eurocommunism  as 
contradictory  in  the  sense  of  political  schizophrenia.  It 
supposedly  has  three  "facets";  one  is  not  so  good,  but  the 
other  two  are  fraught  with  revolutionary  implications.  In 
relation  to  their  own  imperialist  bourgeoisies  the  Eurocom- 
munist  parties  are  said  to  be  moving  to  the  right.  But  with 
regard  to  the  Soviet  bloc  and  their  own  restive  ranks 
Mandei  claims  that  Eurocommunism  is  a  progressive, 
'    indeed  even  "objectively  revolutionary,"  force. 

Of  course,  Mandel  cannot  deny  that  the  Eurocommu- 


nists  are  seeking  an  ever  greater  integration  within  their 
"own"  bourgeois  order.  His  article  begins  on  a  seemingly 
orthodox  Trotskyist  note:  "More  than  anything  else 
Eurocommunism  represents  a  codification  of  the  right- 
ward  evolution  of  the  West  European  Communist  parties 
since  the  Seventh  Congress  of  the  Comintern."  Moreover, 
he  admits  that  "the  decisive  factor"  motivating  the  CP 
lead,erships  is  the  attempt  "to  overcome  parliamentary 
isolation,  and  to  link  up  with  Social  Democracy  and  the 
'liberal'  bourgeoisie." 

But  for  Mandelite  "dialectics"  there  are  two  sides  to 
every  contradiction:  that  which  exists  in  reality  and  that 
which  exists  as  an  objectification  of  opportunist  appetite. 
Thus  this  high  priest  of  Pabloism  writes: 

"From  the  historical  standpoint,  however,  Eu- 
rocommunism is  not  simply  a  confirmation  of  the 
(further)  rightward  turn  of  most  of  the  West  European 
Communist  parties,  it  also  represents  a  right  turn  under 
particular  conditions,  new  in  and  of  themselves.  First,  it  is 
occurring  during  a  period  of  rising  and  sometimes  stormy 
upsurge  of  mass  struggles  in  Southern  Europe,  which  has 
bordered  on  pre-revolutionary  and  revolutionary  situa- 
tions." [emphasis  added] 

But  "from  the  historical  standpoint"  popular  frontism  was 
precisely  a  product  of  "rising  and  sometimes  stormy"  class 
polarizations  and  conflicts.  What  were  the  "particular 
conditions"  prevailing  in  Spain  and  France  in  the  mid- 
I930's,  and  in  Italy  and  France  immediately  after  World 
War  II,  if  not  "stormy"? 

What  Mandel  seeks  to  obscure  Fs  that  Eurocommunism 
is  the  product  of  the  defeats  and  betrayals  of  the 
"sometimes  stormy  upsurge  of  mass  struggles  in  Southern 
Europe,"  especially  Portugal.  And  here  Chile  should  be 
added  where  even  Mandel  is  forced  to  acknowledge  in 
"Three  Facets"  that  for  the  Eurocommunists: 

"The  old  'wisdom'  of  Social  Democracy  was  affirmed: 
avoid  a  comprehensive  test  of  strength  with  the  bourgeoi- 
sie. When  the  exacerbation  of  class  contradictions  and  the 
polarization  of  political  forces  in  the  context  of  a  pre- 
revolutionary  situation  leads  to  such  a  test  of  strength, 
then  the  political  conclusion  drawn  from  this  'wisdom'  is 
simple:  curb  the  mobilization  of  the  workers,  even  if  this 
divides  the  toilers  and  demobilizes  entire  layers  of  the 
proletariat.  The  successful  application  of  this  line  can  lead 
only  to  the  victory  of  counter-revolution." 

The  fall  of  Allende  convinced  Berlinguer's  PCI  that  the 
Chilean  Popular  Unity  government  had  been  "too  radical" 
and  had  too  narrow  a  base  of  bourgeois  support.  So  the 
Italian  Stalinists  rejected  seeking  a  popular  front  with  a 
liberal  minority  of  their  own  bourgeoisie  in  favor  of  a 
coalition  with  the  dominant  ruling-class  party,  the 
staunchly  anti-Soviet,  pro-American  Christian  Demo- 
crats. Moreover,  Berlinguer's  party  recognized  that  the 
final  arbiter  of  the  "historic  compromise"  resided  not  in 
Rome  but  in  Washington.  Hoping  to  forestall  an  Italian 
Pinochet,  the  PCI  decided  it  should  not  bid  for  direct 
governmental  participation  without  first  securing  the 
support  or  at  least  the  benign  neutrality  of  American 
imperialism. 

Portugal  in  the  spring  and  summer  of  1975  was  the 
sharpest,  most  important  conflict  between  Stalinism  and 
Social  Democracy  in  Western  Europe  since  the  height  of 
the  Cold  War  in  the  1950's.  After  the  Armed  Forces 
Movement  (MFA)  toppled  the  right-wing  Caetano 
dictatorship  in  the  spring  of  1974,  Cunhal's  PCP  pursued  a 
policy  of  support  to  left-nationalist  military  bonapartism. 


WINTER  1979 


5 


At  the  height  of  the  prerevolutionary  crisis  in  Portugal  the  Mandelites  tailed  the  left- talking  section  of  the 
bonapartist  bourgeois  officer  caste  (left),  while  the  SWP  reformists  cheered  the  anti-Communist 
mobilizations  spearheaded  by  the  Portuguese  social  democrats  who  were  funded  by  the  CIA  (right). 


When  Mario  Soares'  Socialist  Party  won  a  large  plurality 
in  the  April  1975  Constituent  Assembly  elections,  it 
demanded  a  strong  government  led  by  itself  to  suppress  the 
conditions  of  "anarchy."  In  order  to  stay  in  power  the  left- 
MFA/PCP  Fifth  Provisional  Government  was  forced  at 
the  time  to  tolerate  the  workers  commissions,  neighbor- 
hood commissions  and  soldiers  committees.  In  the  summer 
of  1975  Soares'  Socialists,  fully  and  actively  backed  by  U.S. 
imperialism  and  West  European  Social  Democracy, 
moved  to  overthrow  the  Fifth  Provisional  Government  in 
order  to  suppress  these  embryos  of  dual  power  and  to  eject 
the  pro-Moscow  PCP  from  office. 

The  increasingly  violent  conflict  between  Soares' 
Socialists  and  CunhaTs  Communists  produced  a  deep  rift 
in  the  European  Stalinist  movement.  The  Italian  and 
Spanish  CP  leaderships  were  greatly  upset  when  the  left- 
M  FA/ PCP  regime  did  not  turn  power  over  to  the  social 
democrats  after  the  latter  won  the  Constituent  Assembly 
elections;  moreover,  they  were  embarrassed  by  the 
ideological  Justification  for  this  course  coming  out  of 
Lisbon  and  Moscow.  The  founding  document  of 
Eurocommunism — the  joint  statement  of  principles  by 
Berlinguer's  PCI  and  Carrillo's  PCE  in  July  1975— was 
expressly  designed  to  dissociate  these  parties  from 
CunhaPs  PCP  and  its  Kremlin  backers. 

Unlike  the  Italian  and  Spanish  CPs,  Marchais'  PCF  was 
sufficiently  conservative  to  defend  Cunhal,  a  stance  that 
proved  quite  damaging  to  its  popular-front  politics  in 
France.  The  French  Communists  came  under  heavy  fire 
from  their  popular-front  partners  for  their  line  on 
Portugal;  for  a  time  this  issue  even  threatened  to  split  the 
Union  of  the  Left. 

Just  as  Berlinguer  learned  from  the  1973  Chilean  coup 
that  the  PC!  should  ally  with  the  dominant  bourgeois 
party,  so  Marchais  drew  the  lesson  from  the  fall  of  the  left- 
M  FA/ PCP  regime  in  September  1975  that  the  PCF  could 
not  extend  its  influence  in  opposition  to  a  strong  social- 
democratic  party,  behind  which  stood  U.S.  imperialism,  in 
November  Marchais  journeyed  to  Rome  where  he  and 
Berlinguer  issued  a  declaration  of  principles  similar  to  the 
PCl/PCE  statement  in  July.  CunhaPs  hapless  fate  pushed 


Marchais  into  the  Eurocommunist  camp. 

Just  as  the  incipient  civil  war  in  Portugal  deeply 
polari/ed  the  world  Stalinist  movement,  so  it  almost  split 
the  USec  into  its  main  component  parts:  the  Mandelite 
centrists  and  the  reformist  SWP.  Characteristically,  the 
USec  majority  tailed  the  left-bonapartist/Stalinist  bloc. 
The  Mandelite  Liga  Comunista  Internacionalista  went 
so  far  that  in  August  of  1975  it  signed  a  formal  agreement 
supporting  the  program  of  the  Fifth  Provisional  Govern- 
ment, in  effect  entering  a  short-lived  popular  front  with  the 
left-MFA/PCP  regime. 

On  the  other  side,  no  event  revealed  the  social- 
democratic,  anti-communist  nature  of  the  American  SWP 
more  starkly  than  the  1975  Portuguese  crisis.  In  the  name 
of  "defending  democracy"  the  SWP  cheered  the  CIA- 
funded  Socialists  as  they  spearheaded  the  rightist  mobiliza- 
tion against  the  Stalinists,  the  "far  left"  and  the  embryos  of 
revolutionary  dual  power.  The  SWP's  "State  Department 
socialist"  line  on  Portugal  was  a  key  factor  in  its  fusion  with 
continued  on  next  page 


SPARTAOST 

(Fourth  Internationalist) 
An  Organ  of  Revolutionary  Marxism 

EDITORIAL  BOARD:  Charles  O'Brien  (managing),  Susan  Adrian, 
Elizabeth  Gordon.  William  Logan,  James  Robertson,  Joseph  Seymour, 
John  Sharpe,  David  Strachan 
PRODUCTION  MANAGER:  Noah  Wilner 
CIRCULATION  MANAGER:  Karen  Wyatt 

Published  for  the  Interim  Secretariat  of  the  international  Spartacist 
tendency,  in  accord  with  the  "Declaration  for  the  Organizing  of  an 
International  Trotskyist  Tendency, "  by  the  Spartacist  Publishing 
Company,  Box  1377,  GPO,  New  York,  N  Y  10001.  Telephone:  966-6841 

Opinions  expressed  in  signed  articles  or  letters  do  not  necessarily 
express  the  editorial  viewpoint. 


Number  26 


Winter  1979 


6 


SPARTACIST 


the  Shachtmanite  anti-Soviet-defensist  Revolutionary 
Marxist  Committee  in  1977.  The  positions  of  the 
Mandelites  and  SWP  on  Portugal  in  1975  would  literally 
have  placed  them  on  opposite  sides  of  the  barricades. 

Terminological  Chicanery 

Although  Mandel  speaks  about  the  "social 
democratization"  of  the  West  European  CPs,  his  actual 
purpose  is  to  argue  that  the  Eurocommunist  parties  stand 
to  the  left  of  the  present-day  social-democratic  parties.  In 
the  first  essay  of  his  book  Mandel  puts  his  cards  on  the 
table  for  all  to  see: 

"But  we  have  never  said  that  the  Communist  parties  are  in 
the  process  of  being  transformed  into  the  miserable  Social 
Democracy  of  Helmut  Schmidt,  Wilson-Healey- 
Callaghan,  or  Mario  Scares.  What  we  have  underscored 
are  the  evident  parallels  with  the  evolution  of  classical 
Social  Democracy  of  1910-30,  which  should  not  be 
confused  with  contemporary  Social  Democracy." 

The  deliberate  confusionism  in  this  passage  is  so  many- 
sided,  it  is  difficult  to  sort  out.  To  begin  with,  the 
periodization  of  "classic  Social-Democracy"  from  1910  to 
1930  is  sheer  invention  on  Mandel's  part.  The  social- 
democratic  movement  underwent  no  definitive  change  in 
1910  or  in  1930.  It  did,  however,  undergo  a  qualitative 
change  in  1914  with  the  outbreak  of  World  War  I,  when  the 
International  fragmented  into  hostile,  social-patriotic 
parties. 

As  Mandel  well  knows,  the  Leninist-Trotskyist  tradition 
regards  pre-World  War  I  Social  Democracy  as  a  centrist 
current  vacillating  between  revolutionary  and  reformist 
politics.  To  assert  that  Eurocommunism  is  analogous  to 
early  Social  Democracy  is  equivalent  to  asserting  that  these 
parties  are  centrist. 

By  identifying  Eurocommunism  with  Social  Democracy 
in  the  period  from  1910  to  1930  Mandel  avoids  dealing  with 
the  question  of  the  popular  front.  However,  a  decade 
before  Kautsky  formulated  what  Mandel  portrays  as  the 
doctrinal  forerunner  of  Eurocommunism,  classic  Social 
Democracy  indeed  confronted  "popular  frontism"  in  the 
form  of  Millerandism.  When  in  1899  the  French  Socialist 


Der  Spiegel 

French  Pabloists  yearn  for  a  return  to  the  halcyon 
days  of  the  Union  of  the  Left. 


Under  slogan  calling  for  "Victory  of  the  Entire 
Left'  Pabloists  are  billed  with  the  MRG,  the 
bourgeois  Left  Radicals. 


Alexandre  Millerand  entered  a  bourgeois  cabinet,  he 
anticipated  the  principal  expression  of  reformism  in  the 
imperialist  epoch  in  bourgeois-democratic  countries  with 
mass  parties  based  on  the  labor  movement.  After  an  initial 
softness  toward  Millerandism,  the  Bebel/ Kautsky  leader- 
ship of  German  Social  Democracy  definitely  rejected 
socialist  participation  in  a  capitalist  government. 

in  his  1908  book  The  Road  jo  Power  Kautsky  stated: 
"Whoever  looks  upon  the  Socialist  party  as  a  means  of 
freeing  the  proletariat,  must  decisively  oppose  any  and  all 
forms  of  participation  by  that  party  in  the  ruling 
corruption.  If  there  is  anything  that  will  rob  us  of  the 
confidence  of  all  honorable  elements  in  the  masses,  and 
that  will  gain  us  the  contempt  of  all  those  sections  of  the 
proletariat  that  are  capable  of  and  willing  to  fight,  and  that 
will  bar  the  road  to  our  progress,  it  is  participation  of  the 
Socialists  in  any  coalition  or  'bloc'  policy." 

This  passage  marks  pre- War  Kautskyism  on  the  question 
of  socialist  entry  into  bourgeois  governments  as  qualita- 
tively to  the  left  of  fl// Stalinist  parties  since  \  934-}5  and  the 
USec  majority! 

Since  1934-35  the  Stalinist  parties  have  not  been 
intrinsically  (as  distinct  from  conjuncturally)  to  the  left  of 
the  social-democratic  parties.  As  Trotsky  wrote  after  the 
Seventh  (Popular  Front)  Congress  of  the  Comintern  in 
1935:  "Nothing  now  distinguishes  the  Communists  from 
the  Social  Democrats  except  the  traditional  phraseology, 
which  is  not  difficult  to  unlearn"  ("The  Comintern's 
Liquidation  Congress,"  Writings,  1935-36).  In  the  Spanish 
Revolution  and  Civil  War  ( 1936-37)  the  Stalinists  stood  on 
the  far  right  wing  of  the  "popular  front"  coalition  as  the 
most  implacable  enemies  of  proletarian  dual  power.  In 
1937  the  Stalinists  toppled  the  popular  Socialist  leader 
Largo  Caballero  because  he  was  insufficiently  ruthless  in 
suppressing  the  revolutionary  workers  led  by  the  anarchists 
and  the  centrist  POUM. 

And  Spain  was  not  unique  in  this  regard.  As  Mandel 
himself  noted,  in  1945  the  Kremlin  and  its  British  followers 
advocated  that  the  Labour  Party  continue  its  wartime 
coalition  with  Churchilfs  Tories.  Clement  Attlee  and 
Ernest  Bevin  rejected  this  Stalinist  line.  Within  the 


WINTER  1979 


7 


framework  of  reformism  the  British  Labour  government  of 
1945-51.  which  nationalized  a  number  of  major  industries 
and  introduced  socialized  medicine,  was  far  to  the  left  of 
the  present-day  Italian  Communist  Party,  whose  program 
of  economic  austerity  and  "law  and  order"  aims  at 
reversin}^  the  economic  gains  made  by  the  working  class 
since  the  "red  autumn"  of  1969  and  strengthening  the 
repressive  state  apparatus.  On  key  issues  in  Italian  political 
life  (the  1974  divorce  referendum,  the  Moro  kidnapping) 
Berlinguer's  PC!  has  been  to  the  right  of  the  Socialist  Party 
of  De  Martino/Craxi.  Likewise,  in  the  Chilean  Unidad 
Popular  government  the  CP  constituted  the  far-right-wing 
defender  of  the  bourgeois  order. 

By  the  time  Mandel  finishes  dealing  with  the  first  "facet," 
Eurocommunism  comes  off  looking  not  all  that  bad.  Then 
Mandel  settles  down  to  saying  what  he  really  wants  to  say: 
since  Eurocommunism  has  aroused  illusions  in  the  West 
European  and  to  a  certain  extent  East  European  working 
class  and  among  intellectuals,  therfore  it  is  more  potent  and 
relevant  than  Trotskyism.  Mandel  maintains  that  when 
they  criticize  the  Kremlin  and  make  noises  about  workers 
democracy,  the  Eurocommunists  are  not  making  overtures 
to  their  own  bourgeoisie  or  to  U.S.  imperialism  but  in  fact 
are  responding  to  pressure  from  the  proletariat.  It  is  a 
classic  case  of  the  prophet  pretending  that  it's  the  mountain 
and  not  himself  that's  doing  the  moving. 

Here  then  is  the  key  passage  in  "Three  Facets"  and 
indeed  in  the  entire  book  From  Stalinism  lo 
Eurocommunism: 

"As  we  have  already  shown,  the  main  reasons  for  the 
tactical  turns  of  the  Eurocommunists  during  past  years 
have  related  to  electoral  policy:  the  aim  is  to  overcome  a 
specific  obstacle  to  reaching  voters  (and  trade-union 
sympathizers  to  some  extent).  From  this  standpoint,  the 
Eurocommunists'  criticism  of  the  repressive  policies  of  the 
Soviet  bureaucracy  can  in  no  way  be  designed  to  win 

bourgeois  or  'upper  middle  class'  votes  In  other  words: 

the  growing  criticism  of  the  Soviet  bureaucracy  is  a 
concession  primarily  to  the  West  European  working  class 
itself  and  not  to  the  bourgeoisie  

"Under  these  conditions[of  militancy  in  the  CP  ranks],  the 
Eurocommunists'  criticism  of  the  Kremlin  is  in  large  part 
not  a  concession  to  bourgeois  ideology  and  influence 
within  the  working  class,  but  a  concession  to  ihe  anti- 
i^ureauciaiic  components  of  tlie  average  consciousness  of 
tlie  conit)ative  lavers  of  \vorl<ers.  which  is  now  undoubted- 
ly much  stronger  than  it  was  in  the  past."  [emphasis  in 
original] 

To  begin,  one  is  struck  with  how  Eurocommunism, 
which  had  just  been  described  as  the  latest  stage  in  the 
"gradual  social  democratization"  of  the  CPs,  suddenly  gets 
reduced  to  mere  "tactical  turns"  adopted  to  "overcome  a 
specific  obstacle  to  reaching  voters."  But  most  astounding 
is  how  Mandel  flatly  denies  that  the  Eurocommunists' 
criticism  of  Soviet  bureaucratism  and  repression  of 
dissidents  has  anything  to  do  with  their  enthusing  over 
"pluralistic  democracy." 

Berlingucr.  Marchais  and  Carrillo  are  not  such 
parliamcntarx  cretins  to  really  believe  that  their  gaining 
entry  into  the  government  simply  requires  an  electoral 
bootstrap  operation.  Berlinguer  doesn't  need  to  back  the 
Charter  77  group  in  Czechoslovakia  to  hold  his  working- 
class  constituency.  He  does  so  to  gain  the  votes,  as  it  were, 
of  the  Christian  Democratic  leadership,  the  Vatican 
hierarchy,  the  Italian  general  staff  and  last  but  not  least  the 
U.S.  State  Department  and  I'entagon. 


Social  democrats  and  liberals  always  talk  about  the 
"democratization"  of  Soviet  society,  a  soft  formulation  of 
the  call  for  capitalist  restoration  in  the  USSR.  Does  this 
mean  that  Willy  Brandt  or  George  McGovern  are 
responding  to  the  "anti-bureaucratic  components  of  the 
average  consciousness  of  the  combative  layers  of  workers"? 
Even  at  the  height  of  the  Cold  War  no  American  leader— 
not  Truman,  not  Eisenhower,  not  Dulles — openly  advocat- 
ed reestablishing  the  "free  enterprise  system"  in  Stalinist 
Russia.  The  popular  ideological  slogans  of  imperialist  anti- 
Sovietism  have  always  been  "democracy  versus  dictator- 
ship," "the  free  world  versus  totalitarianism,"  "human 
rights  versus  police  state  repression." 

The  hostility  toward  the  USSR  among  American,  West 
German  or  British  workers  is  not  based  on  positive  loyalty 
to  the  capitalist  economic  system,  on  a  desire  to  see  General 
Motors,  Siemens  or  Imperial  Chemical  take  over  Russian 
industry.  The  anti-Soviet  attitude  of  social-democratic 
workers  in  Western  Europe  and  the  more  backward 


Karl 

Kautsky: 
formally 
to  the  left 
of  both  the 
Euro- 
Communists 
and  the 
usee 
on  key 
question  of 
whether 
socialists 
can  make 
electoral 
blocs  w